Acquittal a slap on prosecution's face

Ujjwal Nikam shocked by special courts decision to set Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed free

Acquittal a slap on prosecution's face

The co-accused were Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed. While Ansari was arrested in February 2008 in Lucknow in connection with a ‘fidayeen’ attack on Ramgarh CRPF camp, Sabahuddin was caught in April 2008. Both men were brought to Mumbai in December 2008 after the 26/11 attacks.

The judge, M L Tahilyani, was unsparing in his comments and he blasted the Mumbai police and the prosecution for charging the two in the case, that was described by prosecution as “water-tight case”, leaving no room for acquittals.

The prosecution had accused Fahim of surveying places to be targeted during 26/11 attacks and of passing maps on to Sabahuddin, who allegedly forwarded these to his Pakistani handlers. The judge said, “Google has better maps than these.”

Training camps
The Mumbai crime branch claimed that both Ansari and Shaikh attended training camps similar to those attended by Kasab in Pakistan.

The court’s judgement on the two co-accused came as a shock treatment to Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who has been basking in the glory of convictions after convictions, starting from the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings case to Pramod Mahajan murder case. Nikam, talking to mediapersons outside the courtroom, spent most of his time in defending the prosecution’s case against Fahim and Sabahuddin, and he insisted that the two have been given benefit of doubt, and not acquitted “with honour.”

Off course, the prosecution will appeal the verdict in case of  these two co-accused, about whose role Nikam was convinced. He said Ansari and Sabahuddin were “notorious terrorists”.

Nikam said the prosecution has enough material to prove that both were active members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and were “not passive sleepers.”
“I will challenge this verdict. We will recommend to the government to challenge this verdict,” Nikam said.

But the only evidence the prosecution could bring forth was in the form of a witness, one Nooruddin, who claimed that he was present when Ansari handed over the maps to Sabahuddin. One of the maps, according to prosecution, was found from the possession of Abu Ismail, Kasab’s accomplice killed at Girgaum chowpatty area.

But the judge said there was no confirmation about Nooruddin going to Nepal and accepted the defence’s contention that if the map tabled by prosecution was indeed found on Ismail, it would have been soiled and stained with blood which it was not.
Speaking after the judgment, Fahim lawyer Rajendra Mokashi said the theory put forward by the prosecution that the map was recovered from the right pocket of Abu Ismail was found disputed.

“We were sure that justice will be delivered,” Mokashi said.
Nevertheless, both Fahim and Sabahuddin, though acquitted by the special court, remain key accused in the Rampur CRPF attack case as well as the Bangalore attack case.
DH News Service

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