New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed
the plea of extradited alleged gangster Abu Salem for cross
examining a co-accused Riyaz Ahmed Siddique who turned hostile
after turning an approver in a TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive
Activities Act) related case.
A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and R M Lodha ruled that
since Siddique had turned hostile after agreeing to become an
approver for the prosecution, he cannot be cross examined by
Salem and others as the witness had forfeited his right of
"The designated court seriously erred in treating the
respondent no 3(Riyaz Ahmed Siddique) hostile witness. It
failed to consider that the pardon granted and accepted by him
was conditional pardon inasmuch as it was on the condition of
his making a true and full disclosure of all the facts
concerning the commission of crime and once the pardon granted
to him stood forfeited, on the certificate issued by the
Special Public Prosecutor, he was relegated to the position of
an accused and did not remain a witness," Justice Lodha
writing the judgement observed.
The apex court passed the judgement while upholding an
appeal filed by Maharashtra government challenging the
decision of the designated court to allow Salem and his other
accomplices charged under TADA and IPC to cross examine
Siddique as a prosecution witness.
In the present case, one Pradeep Jain (builder) was
allegedly eliminated by hired gangsters on March 7, 1995, and
an attempt on the life of his brother Sunil Jain was also
made in the alleged conspiracy hatched by Salem from Dubai in
a property dispute.