Kasab wants trial by international court

After a series of flip-flops, Kasab on Monday sought to drag the Mumbai attacks case further.

Updated: Jan 25, 2010, 23:20 PM IST

Mumbai: After a series of flip-flops, lone
surviving 26/11 Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab on Monday sought to
drag the Mumbai attacks case, saying he would like to be tried
by an international court, but his plea was rejected by a
special court here.

22-year-old Kasab told the court that he would like to be
tried by an international court, to which judge M L Tahaliyani
said he could make that plea after the judgement had been
pronounced as it was premature at this stage.

Kasab, who has been making conflicting claims before the
court, first by confessing to his involvement in the audacious
attack that left 166 dead and later retracting it, also told
the court that he would like to examine defence witnesses but
refused to name them.

"I will consult Pakistani authorities on examining
defence witnesses if they come here," Kasab said. Asked who
were the witnesses, he said they could be passport officers or
government staff.

Kasab has been claiming that he had come to Mumbai from
Pakistan by Samjhauta Express holding a valid passport.

After hearing prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and Kasab`s lawyer
K P Pawar, the judge came to the conclusion that Kasab`s case
was not of acquittal because of evidence against him and so he
was entitled to examine defence witnesses.

Accordingly, the court allowed Kasab time till January
27 to decide on examining defence witnesses. However, Kasab
told the court that he did not wish to be examined as witness
on oath. Kasab alleged in the court that Pakistan`s Geo TV
channel, which had aired the footage of his village in that
country, was under the "thumb" of India`s external
intelligence agency RAW and Israel.

He claimed he was arrested on November 6, 2008, 20 days
before the terror attacks, at Juhu Chowpatty by Mumbai crime
branch and then his custody was given to RAW, which later
handed him over to the crime branch.

The crime branch personnel inflicted bullet injuries on
his hand, Kasab alleged, in an apparent bid to rubbish the
prosecution`s case that he was wounded in exchange of fire
with police during the terror strike.

Kasab said he was shown CDs by police which revealed that
one of the two terrorists at CST was Abu Ali.

The same Abu Ali had later unleashed terror at Taj Hotel
and this was evident from the cargo pants he was wearing in
the CDs, he said. Kasab said police had also told him about
Abu Ali`s identity.

The case of the prosecution is that terrorist Abu Ismail
and Kasab had fired at people at CST.

When the judge asked Kasab who the other terrorist at
CST was, he denied having any knowledge on that.

Kasab also claimed Pakistani officials and FBI men had
come to meet him in police custody and he had told the US
investigators that he was under police pressure.

The was replying to questions put to him by the
court on evidence adduced against him by the prosecution.
The 26/11 trial court has asked 1,560 questions since
December 18 last.

Prosecutor Nikam told reporters outside the court that
they have won the first legal battle as the court has come to
the conclusion that this was not a case of acquittal and there
was evidence against Kasab.

Nikam said that Kasab had fabricated yet another false
story today to buttress his case that he was not involved in
the 26/11 attacks. "Kasab is a hardcore militant and clever at
fabricating stories," he said.

During the earlier hearing on January 22, Kasab retracted
his guilty plea of July 20 last year, saying that it was made
under duress from police.

He had earlier disowned his confession made before a
magistrate about the 26/11 terror conspiracy and his role in
the dastardly strikes. Kasab has also claimed that four
terrorists who had struck at Taj hotel were Indians.

On the July 20 plea, he, however, had talked about
attending an LeT camp in Pakistan, arriving in Mumbai from
Karachi by sea route, firing at people at Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus and Cama Hospital and fighting a gun battle with
policemen at Girgaum Chowpatty.