Staff Reporter

Make note of the depositions, says defence

Coimbatore: Defence counsel in the Coimbatore serial blasts case said on Tuesday that depositions by the prosecution witnesses were contrary to the versions and contentions of the prosecution.

Defence counsel Bhavani B Mohan and Mohammed Abubacker were submitting their arguments before the judge of the Special Court for Bomb Blast Cases K. Uthirapathy. T. Balasundaram and T.A. Selvaraj represented the prosecution. More than 50 persons were killed and over 250 injured in the serial blasts of February 14, 1998.

Raising doubts on the credibility of the witnesses, Mr. Mohan said two eyewitnesses, an old iron merchant and his friend, of the prosecution said they saw two persons moving under suspicious circumstances i.e., human bombers (suicide squad) near the public meeting stage, where BJP leader L.K. Advani was scheduled to address an election meeting on February 14, 1998. The eyewitnesses had claimed that they had come to a teashop, which was very close to the public meeting stage.

Mr. Mohan raising doubts on the presence of the two witnesses at the place on that day, pointed out that the claim of the friend of the iron merchant that he was not aware of anything about the business activities of the other was unnatural and not reliable. The eyewitnesses had claimed that they were not frisked and the statement that the teashop near the stage was open was in contradiction to the depositions by police officers who said the entire area was sterilised since morning and all the shops close to the meeting stage were closed.

The other defence counsel Mohammed Abubacker spoke on the bomb attack on an electronic shop on Oppanakkara Street in which one `human bomb' was killed. The prosecution had contended that he threw the bomb on the shop and he sustained injuries when the bomb fell on the shop door bounced back on him. However, the watchman of the shop had deposed that the suspect was tampering with an object and it exploded causing injuries. Similarly, another eyewitness had deposed that he noticed the injured person and a crowd around him in another street, which was not anywhere near the scene of occurrence.

One of the police officers claimed that the public admitted the injured person to hospital where he died after a few days.

Another police officer had deposed that the police removed the injured person to the hospital.

The defence wanted the court to make note of the depositions of the witnesses, which were contradicting the contention of the prosecution and dubbed the case as a fabricated one.