V.S. Palaniappan

Defence counsel questions claims of eyewitnesses

Coimbatore: Banned outfit Al-Umma deputed a six-member squad (including human bombs) to BJP leader L.K. Advani's public meeting venue in R.S. Puram on February 14, 1998, the prosecution counsel told the Special Court,on Monday.

Suicide squads

arguments along with T.A. Selvaraj the counsel said the suicide squad box bombs while human bombs were provided with fan-regulator-size bombs to be tied to their waist. They were told to switch it on after pulling the wire and throwing it within six seconds. They were also to trigger the bombs if the policeintercept ed them.

Defence counsel P. Thirumalairajan "", when the entire area had been under a security cordon, with shops asked to shut down. how come the eye witnesses could have seen these human bombers buying cigarettes and tea.

The prosecution then dealt with arrest of some of the undertrials at an apartment in Rajamundhry in Andhrapradesh on October 11, 1998. Mr. Thirumalairajan said there were discrepanciesthe door numbers of apartments where these accused had taken shelter. He also submitted that

Sourcing of explosives

the of the prosecution was that certain varieties of explosives were sourced from a Mysore-based dealer.. wa,the waMr. Thirumalairajan and Abubacker also alleged that the prosecution had not complied with legal norms relating to obtaining of signatures from an undertrial in judicial custody. The charge came when the prosecution relied on a handwritten letter recovered from Ansari and Siddiq Ali at Rajamundhry purportedly written by an undertrial Abdul Rawoof and signed by S.A. Basha on the plans of Al-Umma.

To the other varieties of explosives seized or recovered from the undertrials, the Defence said that the prosecution had not established anything about the source. Mr.Balasundaram said that Mysore is not the only source and origin of explosives is the exclusive knowledge of the undertrials.

The prosecution said 15 undertrials indulged in rioting near Kempatty Colony and another 17 on Thirumal Street on February 14, 1998. Prosecution charged these undertrials hurling pipe bombs after lighting them with cigarettes. Some of the witnesses were treated as hostile, since they had either failed to identify the undertrials or refused to do so.

Disposed of

Defence counsel Mohammed Abubacker said one of the rioting cases had already been tried and disposed off by a Fast Track Court in Coimbatore and said the prosecuting agency i.e., the Special Investigation Agency has no locus standi to argue on it before the special court.Mr. Thirumalairajan said prosecution had claimed that one of the deaths in an earlier case was owing to an explosion near Ramar Koil Street, a witness in the riot case the mother of the deceased had the death was owing to hurling of pipe bombs in the riot. Prosecution wanted the contradictions to be taken note of.