The chargesheet in the Mumbai attack case has finally been filed. The Mumbai police filed it just in the nick of time, as the legally mandated 90-day period ended on Wednesday.
Interestingly, the Mumbai police has not invoked the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act. While it may be surprising considering that the MCOCA has several provisions to strengthen the case for the prosecution, legal experts believe that its absence should not pose a problem in convicting the lone captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab and the conspirators.
The major legal hurdle for the Mumbai police to charge Kasab under MCOCA is that he must be found to be involved in a crime at least twice in the past 10 years.
However, it is not as though the Mumbai police cannot invoke MCOCA at a later stage. If the Mumbai police find a local link to the attack, then there is a provision to impose MCOCA against the local accused and then extend it to Kasab also, as they would form part of the same chargesheet.
Legal experts say there was no reason to panic because MCOCA has not been imposed in this case. The provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and the Customs Act are strong enough to ensure a conviction. Moreover, there is such a huge amount of evidence against Kasab apart from the numerous eye-witness accounts, which are believed to be more than sufficient to convict Kasab
The major advantages of invoking MCOCA in this case would have been that the police could have kept the accused in their custody and sought remand once in 30 days as against the having to seek his remand every 14 days under the current provisions. Secondly, the police would have had 180 days to file the chargesheet. If a person is booked under the IPC, then the period to file the chargesheet is only 90 days failing which the accused is entitled for bail unless and until the police give a valid reason to the court seeking an extension.