Former police commissioner deposes before POTA court

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Mumbai, Jun 12 (UNI) Former city police commissioner R S Sharma today deposed before the Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA) court, informing about the arrest of Mohammed Hanif and his wife Fahmeeda in the twin bomb blasts case in August 2003.

Deposing before POTA Judge M R Puranik as defence witness, he said, ''We had informed about detection of twin bomb blasts to the then Home Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and had also requested him to attend the press conference. He had agreed to attend it on September 1, 2003.'' When defence advocate Sudeep Passbola asked as to when the accused were arrested, the witness said Hanif was arrested on August 31, 2003, and the others the next day.

When Mr Passbola showed a filed newspaper cutting, Sharma said he had not gone through that particular news article. To which, the defence lawyer moved an application seeking cross examination of Sharma. But Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam strongly objected to the cross examination.

After hearing both the sides, Judge Puranik passed an order and rejected the application.

During cross examination by Mr Nikam, the witness told the court that he had collected all the facts from the investigating officer and the public relations officer before providing any information to report.

The twin bomb blasts occurred on August 25, 2003, at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar at around 1315 hrs, in which more than 52 people were killed and several others injured.

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