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Wild-card witness plea in Binay case

Ranchi: The prosecution in Sapphire International School murder case filed a petition in lower court on Thursday, seeking permission to produce one more witness in addition to the 22 already examined.

Additional public prosecutor Ashok Kumar Rai moved the court of additional judicial commissioner Shivpal Singh to allow testimony of a sub-inspector of Bariatu thana, Sunil Kumar Singh, who had prepared the inquest on February 5 before sending Class VII student Binay Mahto's body for post-mortem at RIMS.

On why examining a new witness was necessary, Rai said to put doubts about the murder probe to rest.

"First investigating officer of the case, Rajiv Ranjan, who was Tupudana outpost OC in 2016, was examined on February 26. He could not shed light on who had prepared the inquest. This had led to doubts about the genuineness of investigations," Rai explained.

Defence lawyer Chandrashekhar Pandey saw the exercise as an attempt to waste time. "As many as 22 witnesses have been produced so far, but no concrete evidence has surfaced against my clients (then Sapphire Hindi teacher Nazia Hussain and her husband Arif Ali Ansari)," Pandey said.

Asked if he would file a rejoinder, the advocate said he was not interested in wasting time of the court.

The court will hear the prosecution plea on March 23.

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