Kasab wants trial by international court
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Last Updated: Monday, January 25, 2010, 23:20
  
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.

PTI


First Published: Monday, January 25, 2010, 23:20


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