ATS probe bogus, Khetan tells HC

Journalist Ashish Khetan on Monday filed an intervention application before the Bombay high court in the matter between German Bakery blast convict Himayat Baig and the state, stating that the investigation carried out by Maharashtra ATS in the blast is prima facie “farcical and bogus”. The application states that as per key witnesses, the RDX reportedly recovered was planted and the witnesses themselves were tutored by the ATS.
The application was filed before a division bench, comprising Justice P.V. Hardas and Justice P.N. Deshmukh, which was hearing Baig’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a lower court in Pune.
According to Khetan’s application, one such witness — Abdul Raheem, told him that the RDX reportedly recovered was planted on Baig and the whole recovery was “stage-managed”. The plea further states, “Raheem was tutored by the ATS to give a bogus testimony, but was not produced in the court at the last moment as the ATS wasn’t confident if he would deliver a “tutored” testimony to the satisfaction of the prosecution.”
“Some of the witnesses who had deposed earlier have gone into hiding and some have come forward. At this stage, it is important that protection be given to these witnesses as their lives lie in danger. I pressed for protection before the court, but the court has informed that there are alternate remedies,” Mr Khetan told The Asian Age.
He added, “I am hoping that others (witnesses) would muster some courage and come forward. The state should make sure that such an atmosphere is created where witnesses come forward.” The application also states that several crucial pieces of evidence were not placed before or considered in their true form before the sessions court in Pune. Mr Khetan has prayed that direction be given for constituting a judicial panel for the supervision of the investigation in the case by an independent agency and recording of statements of witnesses. The HC has posted the matter to October 7 for the next hearing.

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