Stating that an accused has no right to call a prosecution witness for cross-examination, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has opposed the plea of an accused in a case of alleged conspiracy to eliminate industrialist Nusli Wadia in 1989. The accused had sought that industrialist Mukesh Ambani be summoned as a witness.
The agency submitted its response before a special CBI court on Thursday. The application had been made last week by accused Ivan Sequeira, who is among four accused in the conspiracy case. Only Sequeira and another accused stand trial as their two co-accused have passed away. The agency had dropped Ambani as a witness, though it had recorded his statement in 1990.
The prime accused in the case, now no more, was Kirti Ambani, who worked as a senior executive with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and reported directly to Mukesh Ambani. Testifying before the court in 2016, Wadia who had been the chairman of Bombay Dyeing in 1989, had said that he did not know Kirti Ambani, but was informed he worked for RIL. On being asked, he had said further that he did not know any reason why Kirti would conspire except for the fact that he worked for RIL managed by Dhirubhai Ambani and sons.
The CBI said in its response on Thursday that it is its discretion to examine or drop witnesses it has cited in the chargesheet. It said further that Sequeira's plea to examine Mukesh Ambani as a prosecution witness and cross-examine him is "contrary to provisions of criminal procedure code" and is "not maintainable in law". The response said that Mukesh Ambani's statement was recorded under section 161 of the CrPC and is inadmissible in law. It added that he has no right to seek reinvestigation at this stage and sought that Sequeira's plea be dismissed.
As per the prosecution's case, the plan was to intercept Wadia's car when he returns from his office to his residence at Prabhadevi and murder him. Sequeira was allegedly shown the photograph of Wadia and also paid a huge sum of money for the act. However, the plan did not materialise. Two of the accused were arrested by the CID in 1989. The case was eventually transferred to the CBI.