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Mumbai police to file 26/11 chargesheet by Jan 24

Sunanda P in Mumbai | January 11, 2009 22:11 IST

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The Mumbai [Images] Police is expected to file a chargesheet into the 26/11 terror strike before January 24 and the two key Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] handlers in Pakistan are likely to be named in it.

The lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab [Images], whose Pakistani identity has been acknowledged by Islamabad [Images], will face charges ranging from murder, attempt to murder and theft to waging war against the country, officials said.

The Maharashtra government has already decided to set up a special court to conduct the trial.

The chargesheet will cover mainly Kasab's conversation with his handlers in Pakistan, his interrogation report besides eyewitnesses who saw him spraying bullets on the night of November 26.

The chargesheet is also likely to name Yosuf Muzzamil and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the main Lashkar operatives, who had allegedly handled the terrorists during the siege.

Their names, if it figures, will be against column two of the chargesheet (those who could not be brought for trial) which will enable the police to seek a non-bailable warrant against them and subsequently an Interpol Red Corner Notice.

India has been exerting diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to handover the suspects, including Muzzamil and Lakhvi, to New Delhi [Images] for questioning in the case.

"The chargesheet will be filed by January 24 within the 60-day stipulated period," Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam told PTI without revealing further details.

Nikam, who has been helping the Mumbai's elite Crime Branch in tying the loose ends of the chargesheet, also said the trial would take place at a high-security area.

The Mumbai police has decided to club all the 12 cases registered on the intervening night of November 26 and November 27.

While Nikam refused to divulge where the trial would be held, sources in the Maharashtra government said it was likely to be held inside the high-security Arthur Road jail, the same venue where the trial and sentencing of nearly 100 accused took place for conspiring in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Though some of the lawyers have expressed their willingness to defend 22-year-old Kasab during the trial, the accused has not shown any inclination to hire an Indian lawyer and has been insisting that he be defended by a Pakistani lawyer.
He is at present in police custody till January 19 in connection with the firing inside Cama Hospital [Images].

Kasab was shifted to the Arthur Road prison on December 27 for the identification parade, where around 40 witnesses were summoned to identify the terrorist.

Kasab, along with nine others, came through the sea route into the Indian waters, and indulged in shooting at various places including Taj Mahal Hotel [Images], Nariman House, Oberoi Hotel and CST station.

The other accomplices of Kasab were killed during the gunbattle with the Mumbai police and the elite National Security Guards.




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