Mumbai court convicts Kasab with waging war against India

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Mumbai, May 3 (ANI): A Mumbai Special Court on Monday found the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks, Ajmal Amir Kasab, guilty of waging war against India, but acquitted the two other Indian co-accused.

Pronouncing the verdict in a courtroom at the Arthur Road Jail here, Judge M L Tahiliyani described the 26/11 attacks as clear act of war.

He declared Kasab guilty of all 86 charges filed against him.

The charges against Kasab include waging war against India, murder, abetting to murder, attempt to murder, violation of the Arms Act, Explosives Act, the Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA) and others.

However, in an unexpected move, the court found two Indian co-accused-Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed - not guilty and said they must be acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence.

The court said the evidence against the two was weak both in "quality as well as quantity."

For the first time in Indian judicial history, it was established in a court of law that Pakistan was involved in an act of terrorism and of waging war against India.

Judge Tahiliyani said the way the ten terrorists countered the elite National Security Guards (NSG) clearly established that they were trained to fight a war.

Though no direct evidences were mentioned against Lashkar-e Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed and Zakir -ur -Rehman, the court found them guilty based on Kasab's confessional statement.

The court also accepted Kasab's confessional statement.

When the judge was framing him with charges, there was no reaction on Kasab's face.

Kasab was dressed in a white Kurta-Pyjama.

The court also said the DNA test conducted on the seven dead terrorists matched prints collected from the boat 'Kuber'.

The court added that the photographs taken were genuine and the witnesses credible, as they had no other intention than to catch a person.

It said the evidence proved that Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte had died of a bullet fired by terrorist Abu Ismail, while it was not established who killed Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Inspector Vijay Saluskar.

The court did not mention the quantum of punishment, but said the argument and counter argument in that matter would continue on Tuesday. The quantum of punishment is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Monday's judgment comes seventeen months after the incident.

The trial, perhaps the fastest in a terror case in India, commenced on May 8, 2009.

Judge Tahaliyani recorded 3,192 pages of evidence after examining 658 witnesses on 271 working days.

Thirty witnesses in the court identified Kasab as the man who had opened fire on them.

The prosecution led by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, submitted 1,015 articles seized during investigations.

Nikam had also filed 1,691 documents to support the case.

He had also argued that Pakistan's security apparatus was used by the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

For the first time in the Indian history, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials deposed before the court and gave technical evidence.

The FBI informed the court about the technical data it gathered - -that how Kasab and others came from Pakistan using Global Positioning System (GPS) and that they made calls from their mobile phones through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to stay in touch with their handlers across the border.

The prosecution also tabled CCTV footage of the terrorists moving about with guns and firing at people.

The images were captured on CCTV cameras fitted at CST Railway Station, the Times of India building, and the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels.

Photographs of Kasab shot by photojournalists Sebastian D'souza and Sriram Vernekar were also placed before the court.

Kasab is a native of Faridkot, in Pakistan's Punjab Province.

He along with nine other terrorists, who were killed during the gun battle with security forces in Mumbai have been charged with killing 166 people, including 25 foreigners. (ANI)

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