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Updated: January 31, 2010 01:42 IST

Lahore bank official tenders evidence in 26/11 trial

Nirupama Subramanian
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File photo of November 26, 2008 terror attack at Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai.
PTI File photo of November 26, 2008 terror attack at Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai.

The Mumbai attack trial in Pakistan took a step forward on Saturday with the prosecution examining its first witness in the case.

Zaheer Ahmed Sipra, a manager in the commercial branch of the Habib Metropolitan Bank in Lahore, gave evidence that a letter of credit was opened by an importer for purchase of eight Yamaha engines from Japan, said sources with knowledge of the proceedings.

One of those engines was traced by investigators to the dinghy used by the attackers to make landfall in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008.

The trial, in Rawalpindi’s Anti-Terror Court 1 that meets in the Adiala Jail for hearings, is held in camera with instructions from the judge that no part of the proceedings be revealed to the media.

Seven men are facing trial in the case, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, described by the Federal Investigation Agency as operations commander of the Laskhar-e-Taiba.

The prosecution initially produced two witnesses, but as both were officials of the same bank, it relinquished one.

Process begins at last

Saturday’s proceedings were significant to the extent that the process of recording evidence in the trial has finally begun. The next hearing is on February 13.

However, an application from Lakhvi for acquittal on the ground of insufficient evidence for conviction is still awaiting judgment by the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court. The hearings on this application concluded last week. The Division Bench reserved judgment and is expected to pronounce its order in the next few days.

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