Mumbai: Amid a general alert across the metropolis, a thick security blanket has been thrown in and around Arthur Road Jail where a special court will pronounce its verdict in the Mumbai terror attacks case on Monday.
Both the special court and the cell of Ajmal Kasab, the
lone Pakistani gunman captured during the attacks, are inside
the high-security prison.
Checkposts have been set up at strategic points along
the Sane Guruji Marg which leads to the prison near Saat Rasta
in south Mumbai, police sources told a news agency.
Patrolling has been intensified and sand bunkers have
been erected behind which armed policemen are standing guard
The road next to the prison has been made one way and
registration numbers of all the vehicles passing on that route
are being noted down by police.
Since the trial began about a year ago, Kasab has been
lodged in a bullet and bomb-proof cell especially designed to
protect him from any attack. This cell is connected to the
court by a tunnel which no bullet or bomb splinters can
The Pakistani gunman is guarded by a 200-strong
contingent of Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
The jail is divided into two sections -- one housing the
court and Kasab's cell and the other having 11 barracks, a
jail hospital and an egg-shaped cell meant for high-profile
The special court, where Kasab and two alleged Indian
conspirators Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed were tried, is
fortified with a thick coat of iron sheet from all four sides.
The courtoom was first set up in 1996. Initially, it was
a make-shift court but later fortified and made a permanent
court to try the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case accused.
After 26/11 attack, the government decided to make it a
permanent court to try terror cases.
Entry to this court is through a heavily guarded gate
through which only court staff, lawyers, mediapersons and
policemen, who hold special passes, are allowed.
The passes are scanned by a computer which already has
been fed with data about the person seeking entry. Everyone
has to enter his name and pass number in the register while
making entry and exit.
The jail is meant for undertrials and those convicted are
shifted to other prisons in the state.
Built in 1926, the Arthur Road jail is Mumbai's largest
and oldest prison. It was upgraded in 1994 as a central prison
and has the capacity to accommodate 1050 inmates although more
than 3000 are lodged there now.
The 26/11 trial has restricted the movements of the local
residents. The main road has been made one-way with one
section permanently reserved for "Outdoor Broadcast Vans" of
the electronic media.
First Published: Sunday, May 02, 2010, 12:09