Marking the near-closure of the prosecutions case in the 26/11 trial, Ramesh Mahale, Chief Investigating Officer (IO) of the Mumbai terror attacks, deposed before the special sessions court on Tuesday.

The 26/11 incident is divided into 12 cases, with each case being investigated by an investigation officer. Mr. Mahale was appointed chief IO on November 27, 2008, to supervise the investigations.

Mr. Mahale gave the court details of the written communication he sent to various authorities, namely the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), personnel from the Arthur Road jail, police officers and magistrates.

It comprised requests for holding identification parades, seeking sanctions from governmental departments to prosecute the accused for waging war and for offences committed outside India and proposals to obtain evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

Mr. Mahale told the court that he first interrogated terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Amir 'Kasab' on November 27, 2008, and last on the midnight of February 16 this year.

In the first week of December last, the officer realised that 'Kasab' wanted to confess. Accordingly, the police made an application before the magistrate to record his confession under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), the chief IO told the court.

He said the Mumbai Crime Branch sought information from the FBI on 12 counts. They asked the agency to provide details about five CallPhonex numbers, Yamaha engine, Global Positioning System (GPS) sets, eight life jackets, satellite phones, hand grenades, AK 47s, the origin of an email to a television channel, the ship Al-Husseini, voices of handlers extracted from three chat records and information on the nine deceased accused if available in their database. The FBI got back with information on five of the 12 components.

The 26/11 investigation took the police to Srinagar, Bangalore and Hyderabad and Delhi. In Srinagar, the probe pertained to a SIM card, while in the two southern cities it was regarding the fake college identity cards used by the terrorists. One particular SIM card seized at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel belonged to a fictitious person named Suresh Prasad from Delhi.

Five SIM cards seized

Mr. Mahale said that in the investigation, the police seized five SIM cards. No mobile was seized from 'Kasab' and his slain partner Abu Ismail.

During his cross-examination by defence lawyer K.P. Pawar, Mr. Mahale said he was not present at the encounter site of Girgaum Chowpatty. He denied the suggestion that 'Kasab' was forced to confess. Mr. Mahale also said that Suresh Prasad had not been listed as wanted accused in the 26/11 case.

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