The prosecution in the 26/11 case on Friday sought to corroborate the testimonies of two press photographers, Sebastian D'Souza of Mumbai Mirror and Sriram Vernekar of The Times of India (TOI), with documentary evidence. Both photojournalists had taken snaps of the lone surviving gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and on a bridge outside the CST on the night of November 26, 2008.
Anticipating the defence to contend that the photographs could be morphed, the prosecution said the question of morphing did not arise. By suggesting to Mr. D'Souza that his photos had appeared in print and in the electronic media, the defence lawyer in his cross-examination had indirectly admitted to the photographer's presence at the CST, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam argued. “Thus whatever he photographed there [is in the photographs]. Where is the question of morphing?”
Mr. Nikam said the eyewitness accounts of Mr. D'Souza and Mr. Vernekar corroborated with documentary evidence in the form of the photographs they had taken.
During the argument, judge M.L. Tahaliyani took the view that the court was not inclined to believe that eyewitnesses in the 26/11 case had never seen Kasab's photographs in newspapers or on TV before going for the identification parades or deposing in court. However, this did not amount to rejection of their evidence, Mr. Tahaliyani stated.
“The only issue is whether witnesses have identified Kasab on the basis of photographs by the media or on the basis of what they witnessed in reality. I will reject statements denying having seen Kasab's photographs in the media. I will take that portion as a lie. However, that does not mean their whole evidence is to be rejected. Let us take a practical and realistic approach,” Mr. Tahaliyani told Mr. Nikam.
The prosecution argued the evidence of witnesses pertaining to the taxi blast at Vile Parle. Mr. Nikam referred to Kasab's judicial confession, in which he admits to fitting a timer to the bomb and setting the time of the explosion to take place one hour and 15 minutes after he and his partner Abu Ismail left the taxi at CST. The blast occurred around 9.45 p.m. on November 26, 2008.
Deceased passenger Laxminarayan Goyal had spoken to his daughter during his taxi ride and after 11.45 p.m. he could not be contacted. The prosecution argued that Vile Parle witnesses were not toppled by the defence in the cross-examination.
The evidence of witnesses to the murders in the lane behind Cama Hospital was also discussed.
Complains of dust
Grumpy as ever, Kasab on Thursday complained of dust in the box of the accused where he sits along with the other two accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed. Rubbing his eyes, he said the air-condition draft blew the dust in his eyes. Mr. Tahaliyani told him to desist from speaking. Earlier in the day, the court asked him about his blood pressure.