26/11 trial nearing its end

Prosecution set to wrap up case against Kasab and two others

First, the ongoing trial against the only surviving Pakistani terrorist in the attacks is nearing an end and the first batch of a special Force One squad, set up on the lines of the NSG, has been deployed in Mumbai.

While there was never any doubt about the involvement of the terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab in the 26/11 attacks, the trial afforded the prosecution a valuable opportunity to lay bare the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) conspiracy behind the plot and exposed the role played by various functionaries across the border.

The prosecution, led by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, is preparing to wrap up the case against Kasab and two Indian operatives of the LeT, who are charged with killing 166 people.

So far, 250 witnesses and strong forensic evidence have been presented in the court. Nikam believes that the prosecution has prepared a water-tight case against the three accused. The keenly-watched trial, which began in April this year, is expected to be over this month end with just a few witnesses left to depose before the designated judge of the special trial court M L Tahilyani.

Kasab is confined to a specially-built isolated cell in the high security Arthur Road Central Prison and is guarded by a strong posse of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) round the clock. The court is located inside the jail and a tunnel has been made to bring Kasab from his cell to the courtroom.

So far, 30 eyewitnesses have identified Kasab in the identification parade and in the court. Forensic experts have also given their opinion that the DNA of articles found from Kuber boat (in which terrorists came to Mumbai) matched with the DNA of Kasab and five other slain terrorists.

The prosecution has also screened in the court CCTV footages of terrorists from cameras installed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Times of India Building (opposite CST), Hotel Taj and the Hotel Oberoi-Trident.

Meanwhile, the first batch of the Force One, a highly trained commando force formed on the lines of the National Security Guards (NSG), has been deployed on duty in Mumbai while the training for the next batch has begun.

“A fund of Rs 126 crore was made available for the security measures and we will soon make the information on security measures public so that people know that a lot of things have been done in the city for their security,” a state home ministry official said. Over 1,600 young policemen from the state expressed their willingness to join Force One and were imparted rigorous training by Israeli and German trainers.

Probe into missing vest

Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into the missing bulletproof vest of slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare, reports PTI from Mumbai quoting state Home Minister R R Patil on Sunday.

“A probe has been ordered and once the report is submitted to me, I would be able to say how the vest had gone missing and where it is,” Patil told reporters after inaugurating a police gymkhana in central Mumbai. Kavita Karkare, wife of the ATS chief had last week said her husband’s bulletproof jacket had gone missing. 

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