| Aftab: Security cordon
One of the two killers, who shot dead six policemen in front of the American Center a year ago, had got off the motorcycle, taken aim at the cops and then pressed the trigger. This formed the deposition of an inspector, who was witness to the killings, early on January 22. There has been some confusion over whether the motorcyclists had stopped or whether the bullets had been sprayed from the speeding vehicle.
Wednesday was the second day of the hearing of the American Center attack trial. Aftab Ansari, prime accused in the case, was brought to the city civil and sessions court amidst unprecedented police security on Wednesday. The case is being heard by Justice P. L. Dutta.
One of the prime witnesses, an armed force inspector of Calcutta Police, deposed in court during the day. Aftab’s counsels A.B. Dhali and Syed Imam cross-examined the witness, but public prosecutor Ashok Bakshi ruled that the cross-examination should not be published for the sake of an impartial trial.
Inspector J.C. Dubey told the court he had been on duty in front of the American Center on the night of January 21, 2002. “It was just six in the morning, the schedule for a change of guard. I had just crossed Jawaharlal Nehru Road when I heard the whizz of bullets,” he said.
On turning around, he saw that four policemen had already fallen to the bullets. “Three others were then keeling over,” he recounted. “I saw a man in a light blue jacket, his face covered with a black kerchief, standing in front of the building. He had an AK-47 in his right hand,” Dubey said.
“A second or two later, I saw another person draw up to the gate on a motorcycle. He stopped his two-wheeler in front of the gate and the man with the gun jumped on to the pillion. They disappeared towards Park Street in a fraction of a second,” Dubey added.
The judge asked the witness what he was doing while the miscreants fled. Inspector Dubey said: “I rushed to a local booth and narrated the incident to the duty officer at Lalbazar control room.” After a few minutes, a big force from Lalbazar reached the spot and rushed the injured to SSKM Hospital. Doctors there declared four of them ‘brought dead’,” Dubey recounted.
The court will examine more than 100 witnesses. The trial will resume on Thursday. According to law ministry sources, the state has requested the court to finish the trial as early as possible, to facilitate Aftab’s trial in the Roy Burman abduction case.