26/11:Deposition of Indian witnesses before Pak panel begins

Deposition of 26/11 witnesses begins
Mumbai, Sept 24: The deposition of Indian witnesses in the 26/11 terror attack case began here on Tuesday before an eight-member Pakistani Judicial Commission amid tight security arrangements.

The Commission members arrived at 11am at a magistrate court here to cross-examine witnesses of the Mumbai attack, in connection with prosecution of seven suspects held in the neighbouring country for their alleged role in the crime.

Police are keeping a strict vigil in and around the court. A thick security blanket is in place at the premises. The proceedings began with Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, representing the Government of India, introducing the members of the Commission to the court while emphasising on the need of evidence from Indian witnesses against the attack conspirators, whose trial is pending in Pakistan.

The evidence is being recorded by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate P Y Ladekar. The Indian witnesses are: city magistrate, R V Sawant-Waghule, who recorded LeT member Ajmal Kasab's confession, the chief investigating officer in 26/11 case, Ramesh Mahale and two doctors who conducted the autopsy of the Pakistani terrorists, who carried out the audacious attacks in November 2008, official sources said.

This is the Commission's second visit to India. During the first visit, they had examined the same witnesses. Now, the witnesses are being cross-examined which was refused earlier.

The Pakistani Judicial Commission was slated to come earlier to India but the visit was postponed due to murder of special public prosecutor in Pakistan. The Commission includes two officers from anti-terror court of Pakistan, two defence witnesses and a new special public prosecutor, sources said.

Nikam told that a report submitted by the panel after its first visit in March 2012 was rejected by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan as the Commission members were not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.


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