The court had then permitted the use of such photocopies as secondary evidence.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court Wednesday observed that the trial court conducting trial in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts’ case should not have accepted photocopies of documents unless their authenticity had been confirmed. The NIA claimed that certain original documents had gone missing, following which, the court allowed the agency to use photocopies of those documents as secondary evidence but one of the accused, Sameer Kulkarni, challenged this in the HC.
The division bench of Justice A.S. Oka and Justice A S Gadkari observed that the National Investigating Agency court did not ask the probe agency to prove that the photocopies were those of the original documents that the NIA cla-imed it had lost forever.
“The question is: who took these copies? Have you (NIA) examined the person who took these photocopies? How do you know these copies are those of the original documents?” asked the bench, adding that the special court should not have accepted the copies as secondary evidence when their authenticity had not been confirmed.
The court has now fixed February 5 for final hearing on the petition filed by Kulkarni challenging the court’s decision to allow the NIA use photocopies as secondary evidence.
In January 2017, the special NIA court had permitted the use of photocopies after the probe agency submitted that some files containing original statements of witnesses and confessions of the accused under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) section 164 had gone missing and could not be traced.
The NIA had pleaded that since these statements were not traceable and the proceedings of the case were conducted on a regular basis, the secondary copies of the original statements be taken on record. The court had then permitted the use of such photocopies as secondary evidence.