A special MCOCA court while rejecting a plea in the murder case of 1993 Bombay blasts accused which had been filed by his son, to make his uncle an accused in the case, has said that the plea was filed at the fag end of the trial, perhaps to prolong it.
Judge AT Wankhede said that though the incident (of Hanif Kadawala’s murder) is of 2001, the family members of the deceased did not even suspect of the involvement of Farooq Kadawala (his elder brother) till the year 2017.
The order also observed that one hand the CBI brought the story that those on bail in 1993 blasts case were killed by Chhota Rajan and that now, a contrary story that Kadawala’s elder brother had eliminated him through a contract killing. “It is difficult to gather from the evidence laid by the prosecution that under what circumstances the acquitted accused made the statement to the son of the deceased and his friend and what had prompted him to give such a statement that too after a lapse of 16 years,” the order said.
Kadawala’s son, an intervener in the case, had filed the plea through the CBI’ special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat under Section 319 of the CrPC. The provision allowed the court to proceed against a person who is not an accused in the case but appears to be guilty of it.
The plea stated that one of the investigation officers in the case had stated during his testimony that the murder was committed on the instructions of Farooq Kadawala. The officer had confirmed during his cross-examination that from the statements of Farooq Kadawala and his son, that there was a property dispute between the brothers. SPP Gharat had pointed to the court that in the supplementary chargesheet, the investigation officer mentions that one of the acquitted accused in the case Yusuf Kadari had disclosed before Hanif Kadawala’s son about the involvement of the elder brother of the victim. Gharat also told the court that Farooq Kadawala had forged some property documents and got the property transferred to his name.
The court noted in its order that Farooq Kadawala is not at all named as an accused in the previously filed chargesheet or in the supplementary chargesheet and that nowhere his name surfaces in the evidence recorded in the previously conducted trial. Judge Wankhede noted that it was “surprising” that even police witnesses who were examined had not found anything in their investigation about the involvement of Farooq Kadawala. Regarding the reliance of the prosecution and the intervener on the acquitted accused’s statement, the court said it cannot be treated even as an extra-judicial statement as he is no longer an accused and his “alleged statement” had no “legal sanctity”.
Hanif Kadawala was shot dead in his Bandra office by three men in Feb, 2001. An accused in the 1993 Bombay blasts case he had allegedly transported weapons used in the blasts to the city on the instructions of Tiger Memon and hidden them in the garage of actor Sanjay Dutt. The 13 explosions on March 12, 1993 had killed 257 and injured 713 others.