Police lapse comes to fore in 26/11 trial

Police lapse comes to fore in 26/11 trial

In an apparent embarrassment to Mumbai police, a witness who had compiled a list of articles seized from Nariman House after the 26/11 attack told the trial court that some articles wrapped in sealed packets did not bear his signature.

This led to prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam admitting that it was a police lapse and the signature appearing on the packets could be that of another panch and not this witness. The witness said this when he was shown the articles by defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi in the court to identify his signature put on the sealed packets at the time of seizure.

The witness said 36 articles were sealed in different packets under his signature but could not explain why nine articles wrapped in covers did not bear his signature. The articles included two AK-47 rifles, 230 cartridges, four mobiles and a GPS device. Kazmi said the credibility of the witness was in doubt during cross examination while Nikam claimed it was a bonafide mistake of the investigating officer.

Nikam said the testimony would however not affect the credibility of the witness because he had identified all the articles seized from Nariman House. The prosecutor said the investigating officer was probing three incidents of this case and it appeared that he may have inadvertently taken the signature of another panch on the packets containing these articles.

In another development in the 26/11 trial, Nikam sought permission of the court to screen a film captured on CCTV cameras installed at Taj Mahal Hotel showing Indians and foreign guests being taken as hostages by four terrorists. Nikam said this would help to prove their case that the terrorists had taken people hostages during terror attack in the hotel.

Altogether 204 witnesses have been examined in the trial which entered 104th day today. The trial has reached its fag end and expected to conclude by month end, according to prosecutor Nikam.

Lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab and two Indians -- Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed -- are facing the charges of killing 184 people and injuring several others.

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