The special sessions court trying the 26/11 case opined on Friday that Deputy Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil, who was in combat at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, ought to have been made a witness in the trial.
“[Mr.] Patil should have come as a witness. He is a senior officer. He entered Taj within minutes of the attack,” judge M.L. Tahaliyani told the prosecution. He also expressed displeasure over the manner in which the DVR [digital video recording] of the attack at Taj was perfunctorily handed over to a constable. “Is this the way a serious investigation and a [vital] piece of evidence handled?” the judge asked.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam replied if every such witness were examined, the trial would have been prolonged.
It emerged through the defence's arguments that two press photographers, Sebastian D'Souza of Mumbai Mirror and Sriram Vernekar of The Times of India, who took photographs of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab at two different locations, and who also gave their eye witness accounts before the court, were not part of the identification parade.
Kasab's lawyer K.P. Pawar contended that since the memory cards of their cameras were taken into police custody only after about a month, “the possibility of morphing cannot be ruled out.” He pointed out that Mr. D'Souza saw Kasab putting down his bag at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), however when Mr. Vernekar saw the lone gunman later, he was seen with a bag. “This falsifies both the photographers. Their evidence may kindly not be considered,” Mr. Pawar argued.
Referring to the prosecution's evidence in the CST carnage, Mr. Pawar stated, “All eyewitnesses at CST are police personnel and Home Guards although their TIPs [test identification parades] were held. There is no independent witness in the local hall [of CST]. No passengers were among those whose TIPs were conducted. There was no TIP for Mr. D'Souza and Mr. Vernekar. The presence of [Kasab] at the main hall [of CST] is doubtful. The prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond doubt.”
Mr. Tahaliyani, however, pointed out to the defence that “only because the TIP is not conducted, I can't reject the [evidence].”
In the case of the incidents outside and inside the Cama hospital, the defence sought to show that the evidence of witnesses did not corroborate. Among the witnesses the defence touted as “not reliable” was Additional Commissioner of Police Sadanand Date, who waged a pitched battle against the attackers on the sixth floor of the hospital on November 26, 2008.