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Police refuse to believe accounts of ‘key witness’

Staff Reporter

— Photo: PTI/ Santosh Hirlekar

Anita Uddaiya at Macchimar Nagar in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Mumbai: Anita Uddaiya, 47, has been throwing the Mumbai Crime Branch into a tizzy since a popular city tabloid reported her missing four days ago. Uddaiya is a resident of Machchimar Nagar in Cuffe Parade, a fishing colony along the coast where the Mumbai attackers docked on November 26. She has claimed to have seen the attackers.

A complaint was lodged at the Cuffe Parade police station by her daughter Seema after she went missing on Sunday morning.

Just as mysteriously as she disappeared, she reappeared three days later on Tuesday night. In her version to the media, she reportedly said that she was taken to the United States as a witness and her statement was recorded in camera before unidentified persons.

She said that on Sunday morning she joined the “white men” she had been in touch with since December. They took her to the airport to board a flight to the United States.

There she stayed in a hotel, whose name she does not know. After spending a night there, her statement was recorded the next morning. She was then taken back to the hotel and to the airport from there.

She has given explicit details of her flight, the food she ate, the hotel she stayed in, the tall buildings that she saw, in her interview to the tabloid.

There seems to be many loopholes in the story that Uddaiya has told the media. Questioning the credibility of Uddaiya ’s account, Rakesh Maria, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), said that she did not even have a passport and rubbished her claims of being a key witness.

The police are miffed at Uddaiya’s account, and call it a “publicity” stunt. They have gone to the extent of registering a case against her and her daughter on Friday under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code (false information, with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person). It is a non-cognisable offence.

“We shall seek permission from the court to conduct an inquiry into the matter. We have traced her movements till Sunday evening and she was somewhere around the city. In her statement to the police on return, she has said that she had gone to visit a relative in Rahimatpur in Satara district [in Maharashtra],” said Rakesh Maria, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).

He categorically denied that Uddaiya was a key witness in the case as she was touted to be. “She is not my witness. She was not part of the identification parade. She was not taken to J.J. Hospital to identify the terrorists’ bodies. We have only recorded her statement in which she flip-flopped. I have quite a few witnesses from Machchimar Nagar. They were there for the identification parade,” said Mr. Maria.

Uddaiya was called for questioning on Friday to explain the knotty affair, police say. Initially, she said she had gone to Satara but later she said that she was taken by the white men for questioning abroad.

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