26/11 Mumbai attack trial concludes, judgement on 3 May

26/11 Mumbai attack trial concludes, judgement on 3 May

Mumbai: The trial in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case against Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab and two Indian conspirators concluded on Wednesday, almost a year after it commenced, and the judge will pronounce his verdict on 3 May.

Special judge M L Tahaliyani reserved his judgement after the prosecution and defence counsels wrapped up their final arguments and would pronounce his verdict on 3 May.

If the accused are pronounced guilty, the court would on that day call upon the prosecution and defence lawyers to put forth their arguments on quantum of sentence.

The prosecution examined as many as 653 witnesses to prove their case that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) carried out the dastardly attacks by sending 10 jihadi terrorists from Karachi.

The court also examined four witnesses, including two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, who led the teams in operations to fight the terrorists.

Police had filed the charge sheet in the case on 26 February last year after which the case was committed from magistrate’s court to sessions court on 9 March, 2009. A separate court was established in high-security Arthur Road central prison here to hear the case.

On 17 April, before the trial began, Kasab had pleaded that he was a juvenile, but the court rejected his claim after examining prosecution witnesses and experts and ruled that he was over 20 years of age.

On 8May, the first witness stepped into the box, saying he had seen Kasab gunning down sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale at Girgaum Chowpatty.

After examining 653 witnesses, including 30 eyewitnesses, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam opened arguments this month, saying there was evidence to suggest that the security apparatus of Pakistan was involved in the attacks on India’s financial nerve centre.

Days later, American LeT operative David Headley, in a plea bargain before a Chicago court, disclosed that officers in the Pakistani Army were also behind the conspiracy to strike terror in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008.

Nikam argued for 13 days before the trial court and filed a 675-page written submission. Kasab’s counsel K P Pawar argued for three days, while R B Mokashi and Ejaz Naqvi appeared for Faheem Ansari and co-accused Sabauddin Ahmed.

Nikam has sought conviction of the accused on various charges under IPC, including waging war against nation, and other laws such as Foreigners Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act, Customs Act, Passport Act, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosives Substances Act and Bombay Police Act.