Salaskar's driver deposes before court, breaks down

Special court resumes recording testimonies after a four-day break

 
“Yes, he killed Salaskar,” Jadhav told the court, which resumed recording testimonies of the prosecution witnesses after a four-day break, caused by Kasab’s sudden admission of guilt in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) massacre and a few other crimes.

Incidentally, Jadhav was to depose on Monday when Kasab had confessed before the court, which has been recorded as “statement of admission of guilt” by the judge. Kasab has claimed in his statement that it was his slain accomplice Abu Ismail who had killed the police officers.

Jadhav was Salaskar’s driver for many years . On 26/11 night also, he was with Salaskar.

After Kasab and Abu Ismail exited from the CST and went to Cama Hospital, Salaskar, the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare and the zone’s police incharge Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte boarded Kamte’s Toyota Qualis and went to the Cama Hospital lane in pitch darkness.
Jadhav told the court that besides him, three more constables — Yogesh Patil, Jaywant Patil and driver Dilip Bhosle, were in the same vehicle. Inspector Salaskar had asked driver Bhosle to take rear seat and he himself drove the Qualis.

When the vehicle neared Rang Bhavan in the Cama Hospital lane, two terrorists suddenly emerged from darkness and started firing at the vehicle, Jadhav recounted. He said the police officers as well as he himself fired back in self defence.

“I fired three bullets, but I sustained five bullet wounds. One bullet is still inside my hand,” the constable told the court. Jadhav said he had collapsed inside the vehicle. “The firing went on for 3-4 minutes. Then the terrorists tried to open the front doors of the vehicle, but the doors were locked from inside, so they entered the vehicle from the rear side.

Jadhav said the two terrorists then threw the bodies of the three police officers out of the Qualis.While Salaskar and Kamte were seated on the front seat, Karkare was in the middle seat and four constables were in the back seat of the vehicle.

Warning to Kasab

While Jadhav was testifying, Kasab got up in the dock and said he did not fire on the vehicle.

The judge warned him not to speak in between and tell his lawyer if he wanted to counter the cop’s testimony. Kasab told his lawyer to compare Jadhav’s deposition with his police statement soon after the 26/11 attacks.

In his cross examination, Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi asked Jadhav why he did not open fire during the encounter. Jadhav angrily reacted by saying that he had fired three bullets but sustained five bullet wounds — two in his left shoulder and three in his right elbow, during the firing.

Jadhav told the court that one bullet was still lodged in his right elbow. “Had I burst fire, we would have all died on the spot,” he said. Indeed, the three constables who were sitting in the Qualis were all killed.

Jadhav said not only he, but the three police officers had fired at the two terrorists. He had also seen AK-47 falling from Kasab’s hands, but added that he could not confirm whose bullet had hit Kasab.

The question was important as the late Kamte’s wife stated publically a few months ago that it was her husband’s retaliation that incapacitated Kasab, and which ultimately led to his capture at the Girgaum Chowpatty.

Jadhav, in his examination by the prosecutor, said the terrorists took control of the Qualis and went towards Vidhan Bhavan, believing that all the four constables in the vehicle were dead.

“They fired a few bullets at Metro cinema on the crowd and then sped to Vidhan Bhavan.”

One of the constables Yogesh Patil was injured and his mobile rang, when Kasab turned back and fired at him from his front seat in the Qualis.

The constable died in that firing, Jadhav said. One of the tyres of the Qualis had got punctured. Jadhav told the court that the vehicle came to a halt and he saw the two terrorists alighting the vehicle and moving towards a Skoda sedan on the road. The terrorists then asked the occupants of the white Skoda to get down at gun point. Jadhav said he also saw the driver of the Skoda throwing the car keys towards the terrorists.

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