’Kasab did not land in Mumbai in dinghy’

Last Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 19:03

Mumbai: Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab on Thursday
disputed the prosecution story that he along with nine
terrorists came in a dinghy to Badhwar Park in south Mumbai
coast on the night of the 26/11 attacks, saying evidence was
concocted to frame him in the case.

The dinghy produced in the trial court was so small
that it could not have accommodated 10 people and their
baggage, his lawyer Amin Solkar told the Bombay High Court
which is hearing confirmation of Kasab`s death sentence.

Solkar urged the court to call for the dinghy so that
the judges could inspect and get a feel of its capacity.

The prosecution said it would not be possible for them
to bring the dinghy to the court and that the judges can visit
the trial court at Arthur Road jail where it was kept.

Justices Ranjana Desai and R V More would pass
appropriate orders on this later.

Solkar and Farhana Shah, appointed by court to defend
Kasab, argued that articles seized from the dinghy, such as
eight life jackets, T-shirts, trousers and caps, were not sent
for DNA tests. If DNA tests were done, it could have been
clinching evidence to indicate Kasab`s presence in the boat.

It is the case of the prosecution that Kasab and nine
others sailed from Karachi in Al-Hussieni boat and midway they
hijacked an Indian fishing trawler Kuber. When they were
approaching Mumbai coast, they abandoned Kuber and used the
dinghy carried by them from Pakistan to reach the shore.

Kasab has, however, taken a stand that he had come
from Pakistan much prior to November 26, 2008 by Samjhauta
Express to Delhi and later arrived in Mumbai to watch Hindi
films. He was arrested by police at Juhu beach and was in
police custody when the terror attacks took place.

Solkar argued that prosecution had examined only one
eyewitness Bharat Tamore to prove the landing of terrorists by
dinghy at Badhwar Park. This witness cannot be believed as he
is not a reliable one, he said.

Tamore was working in Hotel Taj Mahal which was under
siege by terrorists on the night of the terror attacks. He
told police that he had seen Kasab and some others getting
down a dinghy at Badhwar Park. He then went to Taj Hotel to
join duty and came back on the next day morning to Badhwar
Park. If Taj was under siege, how did he enter the hotel,
Solkar asked.

Kasab`s lawyer pointed out that it was surprising to
note that Tamore was totally silent on the terror attack at
Taj hotel where he was on duty that night.

The version given by Tamore cannot be believed as he
told police that he had seen eight persons getting down from
the dinghy and two others going back in the same boat towards
Nariman Point. All the 10 were wearing life jackets according
to this witness but police recovered only eight. Where are the
other two jackets, Solkar asked.

This clearly indicates that there were only eight
persons who landed from the dinghy at Badhwar Park and not 10,
Solkar argued.

The version of Tamore has been contradicted by another
witness, Anita Wadiyar, who gave a statement to police that
she had seen six persons getting down from the dinghy and four
of them going back. She was a crucial witness but was not
examined by the prosecution in the court for reasons best
known to them, Solkar said.

Tamore had told police that his neighbour Bharat
Tandel had also seen some persons getting down from the dinghy
and that Tandel was present when the panchnama of the boat was
drawn by police. Yet, Tandel was not examined in the court,
Solkar argued.

Tandel, he said, could have thrown light on the
landing of Kasab at the earliest possible time because he was
present at the site when the panchnama of the dinghy was
drawn.

Surprisingly, Tandel`s name is not mentioned in the
panchnama and also that 10 people got down from dinghy is not
reflected in the panchnama. Therefore, a logical inference
could be drawn that Tamore had not seen Kasab getting down
from the dinghy, Solkar argued.

Moreover, Tamore describes only Kasab and not the
others who accompanied him. The description of Kasab is also
general in nature. For instance, he had not told police that
Kasab was a person of short height, Solkar submitted.

According to the prosecution, fisherman Prashant Dhanu
and three others had spotted the dinghy in the sea near
Nariman Point and they brought the boat to Badhwar Park.

Solkar argued that the conduct of Dhanu and three
others in bringing an abandoned boat from the sea to Badhwar
Park coast was unnatural. Normally, an abandoned article is
not touched by anyone, he said.

Moreover, Dhanu`s version is not corroborated by three
others who had accompanied him to bring the dinghy to Badhwar
Park, Solkar argued.

Although Dhanu has given statement to police that he
had handed over the dinghy to police at Badhwar Park, in the
seizure panchnama of the boat this fact is not mentioned,
Solkar said, adding, "all these instances create doubts in our
mind on Kasab`s landing at Badhwar Park by the dinghy".

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 19:03

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