Framing of charges deferred in 1996 Malta boat tragedy case
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 09, 2009, 20:39
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday deferred framing of charges against 20 accused, including two policemen, for allegedly trafficking over 170 illegal Indian emigrants who later drowned in the Mediterranean Sea near Malta 13 years ago.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal adjourned the matter to October 24 as Karnail Singh, one of the accused, did not appear and sought exemption from personal appearance on the ground of illness.

According the legal procedure, the physical presence of an accused is necessary for framing of charges as they will have to either accept or reject the charges.

This is the second that the charges could not be framed. Earlier the court on August 1 could not frame the charges as some of the accused were absent.

It earlier found "prima facie sufficient" evidence against the accused to proceed with the trial.

Twenty accused, including Delhi Police officers Jag Parvesh Chand and B S Meena, have been charged under section 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

The victims, belonging to Punjab, died in the icy waters off the Malta coast on December 25, 1996, after they were transferred from a ship to a boat in the Mediterranean.

CBI had registered a case against 27 persons in 1997. Seven accused died during the pendency of the case.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, September 09, 2009, 20:39

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