`Why independent witnesses not examined in 26/11 case?`

Last Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 18:31

Mumbai: A special court hearing the 26/11
Mumbai terror attack case on Thursday asked the prosecution to
explain why police had not examined independent witnesses to
prove that lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab had
killed constable Tukaram Ombale during an encounter with
police at Girgaum Chowpatty.

The prosecution is relying on the testimony of three
police officers who had captured Kasab alive during an
encounter at Chowpatty in the wee hours of November 27, 2008.

The trio -- Bhaskar Kadam, Sanjay Govilkar and Hemant
Boudhankar -- had told the court that Kasab had fired from an
Ak-47 rifle at Ombale who died of fatal bullet injuries.

However, Judge M L Tahaliyani, sought to know why police
had not examined any independent witnesses to press the murder
charges against Kasab.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted that
police could not find any independent witnesses in the wee
hours of November 27 when Kasab was captured. Hence policemen
who had caught him alive were asked to give testimony.

The judge raised this query on the third day of the final
arguments submitted by prosecutor Nikam.

In another development, Kasab told the court that he was
suffering from low blood pressure and wanted to return to his
cell. After observing his condition for some time, the judge
asked Kasab to go back to his cell.

Prosecutor Nikam argued that Kasab had killed Amarsinh
Solanki, the navigator of fishing boat `Kuber`, and four crew
members of the vessel. Kasab and nine others had come from
Karachi by Al-Husseini boat and mid-way at Porbander they
hijacked `Kuber` in which they arrived Mumbai coast.

Nikam said Kasab had stated in his confession that he had
killed Solanki with a sharp edged weapon and left the body in
`Kuber`. Kasab had corroborated his version by telling this to
a police officer who questioned him after his arrest and also
to a doctor who treated him for injuries.

The prosecutor said Kasab had also stated in his
confession that they had done away with four other crew
members of Kuber boat. Kasab`s words "Hum unhe bhi kha gaye"
implied that they too had been killed because their bodies
were not found on the boat and might have been thrown in the
sea, Nikam said.

The judge pulled up a section of the media for publishing
incorrect reports quoting him saying that Kasab could not be
charged for "waging war against nation" as he was a foreigner.

The court passed an order taking a strict view of the
incorrect reporting and asked the newspapers concerned to
publish a clarification that it had not given such a finding.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 18:31

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