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March 8, 2015

Court accepts IO’s apology for prolonged absence

Karachi

 
March 8, 2015

Karachi
The ‘wanted’ Investigation Officer (IO) for the Baldia factory fire case finally made an appearance in court on Saturday and apologised for his absence.
In the previous hearing, the Additional District and Sessions Judge (West) Naushaba Kazi had issued a non-bailable warrant for the Investigation Officer’s arrest for his continuous absence and had asked the police to produce him in court on March 7.
The judge had also ordered the police to stop his salary for negligence.
However, on Saturday, Investigation Officer SI Jehanzeb tendered an apology in court on Saturday for failing to make an appearance in previous hearings and promised that he would not disappear into thin air again. To help his apology, he also brought statements of witnesses with him.
It worked and the court accepted his apology before adjourning the hearing till March 21.
However, the defence attorneys expressed their reservations on the report of witness statements upon which the court ordered SI Jehanzeb to rectify the objections raised by the lawyers concerned.
There are around 950 prosecution witnesses and the Investigation Officer had to record the statements of many under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The owners of ill-fated Ali Enterprises, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, are on bail and were not present at the hearing.
They had been booked with the factory’s general manager, Mansoor Ahmed, and three gatekeepers for the blaze that claimed more than 250 lives on September 11, 2012.
Meanwhile, former special public prosecutor for the Baldia factory fire case Shazia Hanjra appeared in court and apprised the judge that she had taken herself off the case.
She said SI Jehanzeb did not provide her with the case documents and the authorities took no steps to provide her security. The next hearing will be conducted on March 21.