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