Mumbai, Dec 26 (UNI) Former Deputy Secretary Home and witness in Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar firing case Manohar Gokhale today deposed in the court that the incident occurred due to negligence of a police officer.
Defence Advocate Madhukar Pawar, during cross examination before Ad hoc Additional Sessions Judge B D Khatavkar, charged that the accused was being made a scapegoat due to political pressure and was booked under section 304 instead of 304 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Adv Pawar said that in the sanction letter Mr Gokhale had mentioned that the incident occurred due to the negligence of the police officer. So, he should have been booked under section 304 (a) and not 304.
To this, Mr Gokhale replied that the stipulated time to book the accused under section 304 (a) was over and that was why he was booked under section 304.
Judge Khatawkar then stopped the defence lawyer from asking further questions and asked the newspersons to leave the court room.
The case now has been adjourned till January 14, next year for further trial proceedings.
The trial had begun on October 18, after ten years of the incident.
On the last occasion, Mr Gokhale had said that on the basis of the Gundewari Committee Report, prima facie case had been made against the accused and on the basis of the Report, he had given sanction to prosecute him.
On July 11, 1997, a riot erupted at Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Ghatkopar in eastern suburbs of the city, following defacing of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's statue.
To control the mob, State Reserve Police (SRP) Sub-Inspector Manohar Kadam had given the order to fire at the mob, in which at least ten people were killed.