Pak should have open trial in 26/11 case

Special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 terror attack case Ujjwal Nikam today demanded that the Pakistani court should conduct an open trial in the case, slated to begin there tomorrow.

Talking to PTI here, Nikam said "the trial in 26/11 case is being conducted in an open court in Mumbai then what prevents Pakistan from not doing so?" he asked.
Criticising statements coming from Pakistan that Indian Government has not provided enough evidences to arrest Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the main accused in the case, Nikam said it was for Pakistani agencies to investigate the case after India had provided six dossiers to the neighbouring country.

Open trial in the case makes it more transparent and does not leave any ground for raising doubt over credibility and reliability of trial in the court, Nikam said.
Enough security has been provided for conducting the open trial in the case in Mumbai, he pointed out.

Nikam was in the city to inaugurate a three-day national law fest organised by the Faculty of Law of Maharaja Sayajirao University and Baroda Legal School, in which budding lawyers from 27 law colleges across the country are participating.
He said that the trial has reached its fag end and prosecution's argument in the 26/11 case is expected to be over by end of this month. This will be followed by the defence side putting up their case, he said.

Nikam described Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested in the case, as an actor for frequently changing his stand in the trial. Substantial evidence has been collected to prove the charge of conspiracy hatched by Kasab and nine other slain terrorists in the case.

He said that the recovery of GPS (Global Positioning System) and retrieving data from these instruments by American agency FBI has thrown light on the active involvement of conspirators in targeting places like Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi hotel and Nariman House during the 26/11 attack

Speaking after inaugurating the national law fest, Nikam demanded a three-month time limit for taking a decision on the mercy petition of an accused who has been awarded the death penalty by the court.

Nikam said after the three-month period is over, it should be presumed that his mercy plea has been rejected by the President/Governor to be followed by the execution of convicted accused. He pointed out several cases where mercy petitions have been pending for more than 10 years and no decision being taken on it.

Welcoming amendment in the criminal procedure code, he asked the participants to get ready for coping up with the challenge and suggested radical changes in the legal system.

Nikam favoured admissibility of statement by the accused before the police as evidence, saying it exists in the US where statement made before the Federal Bureau of Investigation is taken as an evidence.

The prosecutor suggested framing a penal provision for the police if they misused their powers for this purpose. He said it is a team work of every one including investigating police in getting accused convicted of charges.

In his keynote address, R S Verma, former director of forensic science laboratory at Chandigarh, emphasised the need of identification of proper material for convicting the accused.

Forensic science has helped in detection of many cases Verma said and emphasized the need on using modern scientific methods in the detection of case.
Verma said importance of forensic science in crime detection stands considerably enhanced by the recent technological advances raising credibility of evidence obtained through reliable scientific means. He said the outcome of the case depended on how the public prosecutor conducts the case in the court.

Nikkam also released a law journal, 'Lux et Veritas' edited by deans of the university's law faculty - G A Solanki and Archana Gadekar.
Talking about the journal, Archana Gadekar, Co-Ordinator of Baroda School of Legal Studies, said the authors have dealt with their respective topics with erudition and commending understanding of the subject.Prof H C Dholakia, former member of the Law Commission and founder of the law faculty, Rajendra Trivedi, former president of the Bar Council of Gujarat, legal experts - R Mohan,  Solanki and others spoke.

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