IN THE trial against accused Zabiuddin Ansari for the November 26, 2008, terror attack, one more witness contradicted the prosecution’s claim that Ansari was arrested from outside Delhi international airport in 2012. The prosecution witness, who was the then Mumbai district collector (city), while answering a question put to him during cross-examination, said he was informed by the investigating officer that the accused was brought from Saudi Arabia to New Delhi. The prosecution claims that Ansari, booked for his role as a conspirator who had landed in Mumbai for the terror attack, was arrested when he was found loitering outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on June 21, 2012. The police claim that a Pakistani passport and identity cards were found in his possession. Ansari, however, has countered the claim in court stating that he had been deported from Saudi Arabia.
On March 14, another witness, an additional chief secretary of the state at that time, told the court that he was informed about Ansari’s deportation from Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, the former collector was being cross-examined by defence advocate Wahab Khan.
“The witness said that during discussions with the investigating officer for two-and-a-half hours, he was informed that the accused (Ansari) was brought from Saudi Arabia to New Delhi and from there he was taken into custody,” Khan said.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had said both witnesses did not have first-hand knowledge about Ansari’s arrest and claimed that their deposition was only hearsay in nature. The collector was deposing on Thursday in the context of a sanction granted by him to prosecute Ansari under the Explosive Substances Act.