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Pak panel in 26/11 case to arrive in Mumbai on Thursday

March 12, 2012 22:09 IST
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An eight-member Pakistani Judicial Commission will arrive in Mumbai on Thursday to record statements of key persons involved in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack probe.

According to Maharashtra police, the eight-member team consisting of defence lawyers Khwaja Haris, Riya Akram Choudhary, Fakhar Haayat, Raja Ehassan Ulhakhan and Isaam Bin Haris, Special Public Prosecutors Choudhary Mohammed Azhar and Choudhary Ali and court official Azad Khan will arrive in Delhi on March 14 and proceed to Mumbai the next day.

The commission will travel by air from Lahore to Delhi on Wednesday where it would complete some formalities.

"The next day, the team is scheduled to land in Mumbai. On March 16, 17 and 19, the team will record the statements and question four key persons involved in probing the Mumbai attack. The team is expected to leave the city on March 20," the official said.

The visit of the Pakistan Judicial Commission was given a go-ahead by the Bombay high court recently.

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan conducting the trial of LeT's Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects had also issued a notification on March 6 directing the panel to visit India on March 14.

The Pakistani Judicial Commission will record statements of Ramesh Mahale, an investigating officer and R V Sawant-Waghul, the magistrate who recorded the confessional statement of lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab.

The civic-run Nair hospital Medical Officer (forensic department) Shailesh Mohit and state government-run J J Hospital's Medical Officer (forensic department) Ganesh Nitukar, who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists and victims, will also be questioned by the team.

Special Public Prosecutor in the terror attack trial Ujjwal Nikam would accompany Indian officers to be questioned by the Pakistani panel.

The panel will question the four in Esplanade court near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, one of the terror sites in south Mumbai where Kasab shot dead at least 30 people and injured many.

It was not immediately known as to where the panel members would stay in Mumbai.

"It is not yet clear as to where the panel would check in," police said, adding the communication from the ministry of external affairs stated that the state government should take care of the panel and thus they may stay in a government guest house in south Mumbai.

The Union ministry of home affairs had conveyed through diplomatic channels to Pakistan about receiving the green signal from the Bombay high court.

The government had earlier asked Pakistan to send the commission between February 1 and 10. However, the visit did not materialise.

On November 26, 2008, Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman and nine others had landed here by sea and gone on a shooting spree at various places including the Taj Mahal

Hotel, Nariman House, Oberoi Hotel and CST Railway Station, killing 166 people. Pakistani origin US national David Headley had conducted recce of these sites.

In the Chicago court, Headley had on March 18, 2011 pleaded guilty to conspiring the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, as well as later planning to attack a Danish newspaper, but struck a plea-bargain deal with the US authorities.

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