TAMIL NADU

Defence counsel questions failure to produce inquest report

V.S. Palaniappan

`Cause of death of six suspects not known even now'

Coimbatore: Defence counsel in the Coimbatore serial blasts case on Wednesday questioned the prosecution for having failed to produce the inquest report of the Revenue Divisional Officer in respect of the death of six suspects "due to a blast" in a storming operation at a building on Thirumal Street.

The defence counsel, Mohammed Abubacker and P. Thirumalairajan, submitted 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 persons were injured in the serial blasts of February 14, 1998. Mr. Abubacker said the post-mortem report indicated that the suspects died because of multiple injuries but there was no mention about the explosion causing the death as contended by the prosecution. The prosecution did not even ask whether the blast caused the multiple injuries.

The apparent cause of the death of the six suspects was not known even now, the defence said.

The prosecution said the police made the seizures from the scene of occurrence, but there was no police witness to vouch for the prosecution theory. The seized materials were produced before the court on February 17, 1998 and were returned for safe custody with the department concerned. The materials were again produced before the court on March 25.

The case was taken over by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the CB-CID on February 22. But there was no mention on whether the SIT conducted any investigation in respect of the seized materials and above all the materials had neither been packed nor sealed as the law warrants. Regarding the arrest of three persons from the scene of occurrence on February 15, prosecution said they were admitted to a hospital before they were remanded to custody.

Hospital accident register indicated that the three were brought to hospital at 3.30 a.m. on February 16. But according to the remand report, the trio were produced before the magistrate at the same time on the same day. Such a glaring contradiction gave room for suspicion that the whole incident looked like a concocted story of the prosecution to cover up the death of six suspects in the "storming operation".

The three accused who were secured in the storming operation had identified three of the six deceased. The identity of the remaining three was not known. There was no documentary proof even to the one identified, the defence said.

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