In the light of Lashkar-e-Taiba terror operative David Headley's admission of guilt in the Mumbai terror attacks, the prosecution in the 26/11 trial would make no mention of his involvement in the case, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told journalists on Friday.
Headley, a Pakistani-origin American citizen, would not be included in the list of 35 wanted accused, who feature in the charge sheet, Mr. Nikam said. Since his extradition was ruled out and since he was already an accused in the U.S. court, Mr. Nikam opined weaving in the Headley link would only be a futile exercise, unnecessarily prolonging the trial.
“If the NIA [National Investigation Agency] wishes to pursue the matter, it may. But we have nothing to do with Headley. We don't want to prolong the trial. His role won't affect the merits of our case. He is not an accused before this [special sessions] court, nor has he admitted his guilt here. Our trial is [almost] over. The question of his being an approver here does not arise,” he said.
Ruling out the possibility of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab's brush with Headley at training camps, Mr. Nikam said, “The Lashkar has various modules. Headley's [plea] also confirms our contention that Lashkar operated many terror modules. It strengthens our case and also confirms the role or Lashkar.”
Addressing the court, Mr. Nikam said, “I am not going to advance any submission about Headley, but if any query is raised, we will have to reply.”
Headley's name has featured in the trial proceedings only by way of accused Sabahuddin Ahmed's lawyer Ejaz Naqvi. He had moved an application last month calling upon the NIA chief S.C. Sinha, and Rahul Bhatt and Vilas Varak, who came in contact with Headley in Mumbai, to depose. However, his application was rejected.
Arguments against Kasab over
The prosecution, after corroborating some more aspects of Kasab's confessional statement with documentary evidence, closed its arguments against the lone gunman. On Monday, it would advance submissions against Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin.
Presenting his case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Mr. Nikam said “all the accused may kindly be held guilty under provisions of the UAPA.” He said they were also liable under the Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Railways Act, and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, Foreigners Act, which apply only to Kasab.