MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has directed a trial court to defer recording final statements of the accused, including former state minister Padamsinh Patil, in the Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case of 2006 after the victim's wife petitioned HC seeking examination of social activist Anna Hazare as a witness in the case.
Justice Prakash Naik was yesterday hearing an application filed by Nimbalkar's wife, Anandidevi, challenging a April 12 order passed by the sessions court exempting Hazare from being examined as a prosecution witness in the case.
The CBI, which is the prosecuting agency, had also filed an application in the sessions court seeking permission to include Hazare as a prosecution witness and for his evidence to be recorded.
The CBI claimed that Hazare, who was also allegedly threatened by Patil, was a prime witness who could prove the motive behind the crime.
"The examination of the said witness is vital and important to the prosecution," Anandidevi said in her application.
The court, after hearing brief arguments, noted that the trial was at the fag end and the trial court is set to record the statements of the accused persons under section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
"Taking into consideration the issues involved in the matter, the trial court is directed to defer the recording of statement of the accused under section 313 of CrPC till the next date of hearing," Justice Naik said.
The court has posted the application for further hearing on June 27.
Padamsinh Patil has been accused of hatching a conspiracy to murder Nimbalkar due to political rivalry.
He allegedly hired killers for Rs 30 lakh to eliminate Nimbalkar who, along with his driver, was shot dead on June 3, 2006 at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.
Padamsinh Patil was arrested and later released on bail.
Other accused in the case include Latur-based businessman Satish Mandade, corporator Mohan Shukla, Parasmal Jain, former state excise inspector Shashikant Kulkarni, Bahujan Samaj Party worker Kailash Yadav and alleged shooters Dinesh Tiwari, Pintu Singh and Chote Pandey.