THE BOMBAY High Court on Wednesday stayed the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court order to use photocopies of missing witnesses’ statements related to the 2008 Malegaon blast case as secondary evidence in place of the original statements that had gone missing in 2016.
A Division Bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice AS Gadkari was hearing a bunch of appeals filed by an accused in the case, Sameer Kulkarni. He has challenged the decision of the special NIA court, permitting the agency to produce photocopies of missing witnesses’ statements on record and lead evidence in support of the same.
In April, 2016, the trial court had been informed that original documents — including 13 witness statements recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and two statements of the accused recorded under MCOCA — were untraceable. In January, 2017, the court had allowed NIA to use available copies as secondary evidence in place of the original statements.