Mumbai: The verdict of a US court holding Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana not guilty for the Mumbai terror attacks would not affect the legal proceedings against
terrorist Ajmal Kasab and also the charge against LeT that they had masterminded the strikes, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said here on Friday.
"However, it pains me to hear how Rana was exonerated from criminal conspiracy of 26/11 terror attack particularly when co-accused David Headley`s evidence about complicity of both of them in the conspiracy has been accepted by the
court," Nikam told a news agency while reacting to the verdict.
Rana was acquitted by a Chicago court on the charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks but was found guilty of supporting LeT and planning a strike in Denmark.
The law of conspiracy in USA, UK, India and Pakistan is
very clear to the effect that once a conspiracy is hatched and
participants have been involved in that, then it is not
necessary that conspirators should do overt acts as conspiracy
itself is a punishable offence, said Nikam, who was prosecutor
in the Mumbai court which conducted the 26/11 trial.
"When the Chicago Court accepted Headley`s evidence that
he and Rana had hatched a criminal conspiracy with LeT, then
the acquittal of Rana from the 26/11 terror attacks is itself
contradictory," Nikam said.
Once the Chicago court accepted the theory of conspiracy
about the involvement of Rana and Headley in plotting various
terrorist acts then the court ought to have held Rana guilty
of 26/11 terror attacks, Nikam said.
However, this judgement is significant for the judicial
finding of the American court that Headley was a conspirator
of the 26/11 terror attacks. This finding can be used in the
26/11 attack trial in Pakistan, Nikam said.
"The Pakistani authorities should now implead Headley
as a wanted accused and, after tendering pardon to him, record
his evidence through video conference for punishing the
participants of 26/11 terror attacks against whom the trial is
pending in the neighbouring country," Nikam said.
Not just this, Pakistani authorities can also rely on
Headley`s version and book other persons who were named by
Headley in the 26/11 criminal conspiracy if that country wants
to fight terrorism, Nikam opined.
Pakistan should not merely blame India for not furnishing
evidence against the perpetrators of 26/11 terror attacks,
The judgement of the Chicago court is contradictory
because on one hand it has held Rana liable for aiding LeT in
facilitating the 26/11 terror attacks and on the other it has
exonerated Rana from the charges of plotting the Mumbai
strikes, Nikam said.
The Bombay High Court had in February this year upheld
the trial court`s verdict in holding Ajmal Kasab guilty of
participating in the 26/11 terror attacks. He is now awaiting
the Supreme Court`s permission to file an appeal against the
High Court judgement.