It contains “vital details”

The Gujarat government has submitted in the High Court a “sealed cover” said to be containing some “vital details” about the murder of the former Minister, Haren Pandya, but said it was not relying on the information “right now.”

A Division Bench comprising Justices R.R. Tripathi and P. P. Bhatt took the sealed cover on record, but said the information contained in it would not prejudice the case of any of the parties since the government was not relying on it right now.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which was the prosecution agency in the case, also did not take any objection to the government submitting the sealed cover. CBI counsel Y.N. Ravani said the agency did not object to the move because the government was not relying on it at present.

“If and when they rely on the same and provide the copies, we will decide our action,” he said.

The sealed cover was submitted in connection with the revision petition filed by the convicts in the case. The former BJP Minister was shot dead when he was about to alight from his car for a morning stroll in the Law Garden in the city on March 26, 2003. The case was investigated by the CBI and the accused were slapped with charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). In June 2007, a Special POTA Court convicted 12 persons — nine of them were sentenced to life imprisonment. The 12 convicts have preferred criminal appeals before the High Court and the final hearing on those appeals is expected to begin soon before the Division Bench.

Defence lawyer Somnath Vatsa took strong objection to the submission of “secret documents” which, he said, was “an unknown process in law.”

He claimed that since the State government was not the prosecution agency in the case, the court should not entertain such a move. The court, however, did not concede the demand since the documents in the sealed cover were still not made part of the case proceedings.