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  Metros   Mumbai  30 Dec 2017  Magistrate’s recording of statement is crucial: Court

Magistrate’s recording of statement is crucial: Court

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAHAB ANSARI
Published : Dec 30, 2017, 5:48 am IST
Updated : Dec 30, 2017, 5:48 am IST

Col Purohit’s lawyer made a similar request about another witness who gave contrary statements before ATS and NIA investigating officers.

File picture of Pragya Thakur Singh.
 File picture of Pragya Thakur Singh.

Mumbai: The special NIA court - while dealing with the issue of witnesses retracting their statements that are part of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s chargesheet in the Malegaon 2008 blasts - held that the truth could be elucidated from the mouth of a witness only after his/her examination in a witness box and that witness statements recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC had more weightage than statements recorded by the NIA under section 161 of theCrPC.

The court said that the truthfulness of such statements could be decided during a trial.While rejecting the discharge application of case accused, Pragya Thakur Singh, NIA court’s special judge Shripad Tekale, in his order, termed the discovery of involvement of LML Freedom motorcycle belonging to Thakur in the 2008 bomb blasts as an “incriminating circumstance”.

Thakur had claimed that absconding accused, Ramji, was using the motorcycle and she had no control over it. According to a witness in his statement under section 164 of the CrPC however - which is recorded by the magistrate and can be used as evidence in court – in October 2008, Ramji came to meet Thakur at Mahakal Dharamshala where they spoke about the blast. The witness claimed that Thakur inquired with Ramji as to how there were fewer casualties though her vehicle was used in the blast.

According to Thakur’s defence lawyer, the trial court could not consider this witness’s statement as he had complained before the magistrate at Indore that the ATS got his statement recorded by harassing and ill-treating him.

To this, the judge said, “It is pertinent to note that this witness has not stated about any ill-treatment at the hands of the police before the magistrate, Mumbai, while recording his statement. The truth can be elucidated from the mouth of this witness only after his examination in the witness box.

At this prima facie stage, mere on the ground that he has lodged the complaint against ATS officer, his statement under section 164 of theCrPC and his statement before the investigating officer of ATS cannot be disbelieved.”

Col Purohit’s lawyer made a similar request about another witness who gave contrary statements before ATS and NIA investigating officers.

To this, the judge held that the statement made on oath before the magistrate certainly had more weightage than the statement recorded under section 161 of the code by an investigating officer of the NIA.

Tags: 2008 malegaon blasts, nia court, maharashtra anti-terrorism squad
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)