Pakistan panel to inspect mobile, Dingy used by 26/11 terrorists

An eight-member Judicial Commission from Pakistan is on a visit to India to examine four witnesses in the 26/11 terror attack trial going on it that country.

Mumbai: An eight-member Judicial Commission from Pakistan, on a visit here to examine four Indian witnesses in the 26/11 terror attack trial going on it that country, on Tuesday urged a Mumbai Court to allow inspection of the dinghy and other articles used by the perpetrators.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate PY Ladekar, who presided over the proceedings, asked Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, representing the Centre, to produce the dinghy, its Yamaha engine, cell phones and Global Positioning System (GPS) before the panel tomorrow.

When the court asked the prosecutor whether the government had any objection to producing these articles, Nikam replied in the negative and said those were lying at the Arthur Road Central prison and would be produced tomorrow.

At one stage, the court expressed its annoyance at why the Commission had not informed in advance about its plans to examine the articles used by the 10 LeT terrorists.

On their way to Mumbai, the terrorists had hijacked an Indian fishing boat `Kuber`, which they abandoned on reaching near the city shores and used the dinghy to arrive at the coast on November 26, 2008, before unleashing violence that left 166 people dead.

Two doctors--Shailesh Mohite and Ganesh Nithurkar-- who had conducted autopsies of nine terrorists, gave a brief account of the post-mortems performed by them.

"Mohite had informed the court that he had conducted post mortem on terrorist Abu Ismail, a companion of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, on November 26, 2008," Nikam said.

The Pakistani Commission, the purpose of whose visit is to cross-examine the witnesses, chose not to do so.

Asked why they did not cross-examine the witnesses, who deposed before the panel today, Nikam said, "perhaps they did not wish to dispute the injuries caused to terrorists and also did not want to disagree about the number of casualties."

Two remaining witnesses-- Magistrate RV Sawant-Waghule, who had recorded the confession of Kasab, and the Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale would depose tomorrow.

The proceedings, which began at 11 am amidst tight security with Nikam introducing the Commission members to the court, lasted for four hours.

The Commission has come here to cross-examine four witnesses of the 26/11 attacks in connection with prosecution of seven suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, held in the neighbouring country for their alleged role in it.

This is the Commission`s second visit to India. During the first visit in March 2012, they had examined the same witnesses but were not allowed to cross-examine.

A report submitted by the panel after its first visit was rejected by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan which termed it as "illegal" as the Commission was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.

India later agreed to allow cross-examination of the witnesses so that their evidence can be used against those facing the ongoing trial in Pakistan.

The trial in the 26/11 case in India has concluded with the only surviving perpetrator Ajmal Kasab being sent to the gallows in November last year. His nine other accomplices had already been felled by security forces during the attack.

The Commission includes four defence counsels, two public prosecutors and two officers from anti-terror court in Rawalpindi.


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