Sunday, January 8, 2012

Notice to SIT on Godhra convict's plea

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on a petition by a convict sentenced to death in the Godhra train carnage, demanding that additional evidence in the form of CDs of a TV sting operation be brought on record.

The notice was issued by a Division Bench of Justices D.H. Waghela and N.V. Anjaria, which is also hearing the appeals of all those convicted in the Godhra train burning case of February 2002. The Supreme Court-appointed SIT has been asked to file its reply by January 23, 2012.

In his plea, Salim Zarda, awarded death penalty along with 10 others, has sought examination of journalist Ashish Khaitan, who carried out the sting operation in 2007. He also requested the High Court to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to furnish the documents establishing authenticity of the CD of the sting operation. The CBI had conducted a probe in the October 2007 expose after the National Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the issue.

The Forensic Science Laboratory, Jaipur had concluded that the CDs containing recording of the sting operation were authentic, Mr. Zarda said.

According to Mr. Zarda's counsel Somnath Vats, revelations in the sting operation explain why two witnesses, who were working at Kalubhai petrol pump from where the alleged petrol used to set ablaze the train was bought, turned up to make statements one year after the incident.

Mr. Zarda contended that if this evidence was not brought on record, it would cause prejudice to him. — PTI


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