Midnapore (WB): The defence counsel in the Chhoto Angaria massacre case today sought permission to move a higher court on the locus standi of a key prosecution witness who had admitted to having lied under oath, and was granted time by the court till May 16.
As CBI counsel Tapas Basu sought to continue the deposition of the witness Baktar Mandal, Biwanath Ghosh representing the defence objected.
Ghosh questioned the locus standi of Mandal saying the witness admitted in court yesterday that he had lied under oath three years ago on the incident out of fear and changed his statement.
Ghosh said the defence wanted to ascertain from a higher court regarding the deposition of Mandal.
Mandal had earlier turned hostile during the trial of the case where several Trinamool Congress supporters were allegedly burnt alive on January 4, 2001, at Chhoto Angaria village in the then undivided Midnapore district.
Fifth District and Sessions Judge, Midnapore, Indranil Bhattacharya, granted permission to the defence counsel and said he would have to produce a directive of the higher court by May 16, otherwise the proceedings would continue.
Mondal`s house was set ablaze during the alleged massacre of TC workers but none of the bodies was ever found.
The case, which was investigated by CBI following a ruling by Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court, was closed in 2009 as all the 16 witnesses had turned hostile.
The case was reopened by the CBI after one of the prime accused Dil Mohammad was arrested on May 26, 2011 in an unrelated case.
Thirteen, including CPI(M) zonal secretary Sukur Ali and district committee member Tapan Ghosh, whose names figured in Nandigram massacre, had been charge sheeted in the case in 2005 but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.