The ATS has not been present during trial proceedings while the ATS witnesses’ statements are being recorded by this court.
Mumbai: The designated NIA (National Investigation Agency) court conducting trial in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case has directed the NIA to file a reply to an applicant seeking direction to ATS officers to remain present in court during trial to assist the special public prosecutor. According to the applicant, the ATS carried out initial investigation into the case and recorded statements of material witnesses but it stopped taking interest in the trial.
Nisar Ahmed Sayyed (59), who lost his son Sayyed Azhar in the blast at Malegaon on September 29, 2008, filed the application through advocate Shahid Nadeem and Adil Shaikh, requesting the court to direct the head or higher authority of the ATS to depute concerned officers to assist the special public prosecutor (NIA) during trial.
Sayyed, in his application, contended that after framing of charges on October 30, 2018, the court began recording the testimonies of witnesses. According to him, the ATS had conducted the initial probe and recorded the statements of many witnesses (whose testimonies were being recorded in court) and prepared the panchnamas of articles seized from various places.
“The ATS has not been present during trial proceedings while the ATS witnesses’ statements are being recorded by this court. It is unfortunate that the investigating agency that recorded material statements and drew panchnamas against the present accused is not interested in trial proceedings without any cogent reasons,” read the application.
The applicant pointed out before special judge Vinod Padalkar that the ATS did not attend proceedings during the hearing on bail, discharge and opening of the case. The application claimed that even NIA public prosecutor had requested the court to direct the ATS to depute an ATS officer to assist him as they would be better equipped to instruct him about the investigation.