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Key witness in Mumbai attacks cross-examined in Pak court

November 06, 2013 17:55 IST

A Karachi-based businessman who sold the boat engine used by 10 LeT terrorists to reach Mumbai to carry out the audacious 2008 attacks, was cross-examined in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The hearing, which came after an adjournment lasting weeks, went on for about three-and-half hours during which defence lawyers cross-examined Mohammed Ali.

"The cross-examination of the person who sold the boat engine was held today. Three other witnesses were also supposed to be cross-examined but the court’s time had ended," Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhury Mohammed Azhar told PTI.

The court will resume the trial of seven suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, on November 20.

Asked why the case had been adjourned for a fortnight, Azhar said: "That is because of the (Islamic holy month of) Muharram."

During the hearing, the prosecution submitted to Judge Atiqur Rehman a fresh set of documents handed over to Pakistan by India.

Defence lawyer Riaz Akram Cheema told PTI that he asked the judge to speed up the trial.

"The accused are behind bars for over four years without any bail. I have requested the court that the trial be held twice a week, every Wednesday and Thursday. We are accused of delaying tactics but the prosecution is delaying things," he claimed.

"Seven witnesses were supposed to appear in court, four of whose statements were recorded earlier. We were able to complete the cross-examination of one but the three others were not present," Cheema claimed.

The other witnesses were part of the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team and could be cross-examined only after these four individuals, he said.

India recently handed over five key documents running into nearly 600 pages for use in the trial so that prosecutors can proceed against the seven accused.

The documents include a certified copy of the Indian Supreme Court's judgement on the Mumbai case, depositions by two doctors who conducted the autopsy of nine slain terrorists and the chief investigating officer who probed the case, and summons to witnesses.

Two other documents contain proceedings of the Pakistani judicial commission that visited Mumbai last month, an application for producing articles recovered from the terrorists by the Pakistani senior public prosecutor, official sources said.

The seven Pakistani suspects have charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people.

Snehesh Alex Philip in Islamabad
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