Rebutting the prosecution’s charge of Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab’s participation in the 26/11 terror attacks, his lawyer K.P. Pawar on Friday told the court that the CCTV footage and photographs purportedly showing his client in action were not “reliable” evidence.
Picking holes in the prosecution’s case, Kasab’s lawyer said photographs clicked by media cameraman Sebastian D’souza were “doubtful piece of evidence” as he had given the memory cards to police 42 days after he had shot the frames.
The Times of India photographer D’souza had captured Kasab on his camera during the attacks moving with a gun at Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus. Police had recorded his statement on January 7, 42 days after the incident.
The delay of 42 days was considerable and photographs could have been manipulated or morphed, Mr. Pawar submitted in final arguments at the fag end of the trial in the court of special judge M.L. Tahaliyani.
Kasab’s lawyer said the general manager of Times of India had testified that CCTV footage had been saved by “Times Now” channel in a CD which was handed over to police.
But since the hard disc had not been given to the court, the evidence of the CD was also doubtful, the defence lawyer submitted, adding there was nothing on the CD to show that it was recorded on November 26, 2008, the day of the diabolic terror assault.
Kasab, in white kurta pyjama, sat in the dock with his head down during the argument.
Pointing out “contradictions” in the evidence of two photographers who had captured Kasab in action on their cameras, Mr. Pawar argued that while Sriram Vernekar said two terrorists (Abu Ismael and Kasab) at CST were carrying bags on their shoulders, D’souza said one of them had left his bag on the floor.
Also, Sriram said photographs could not be morphed while the other photographer had admitted that those could be, Mr. Pawar said, adding some witnesses had acknowledged that Kasab’s images were not clear in the CCTV footage.
Kasab’s lawyer submitted that the evidence of Railway announcer Vishnu Zende should not be considered important because his statement was recorded after 47 days of 26/11.
Mr. Zende had said that as he was announcing the arrival and departure of local trains he heard sound of firing and saw two terrorists on platform number seven. However, he could not state the exact time when he saw the terrorists, he said.
Kasab’s lawyer also pointed out that some prosecution witnesses including Nafisa Qureshi, Kishore Kale and Poonam Singh had failed to identify Kasab in court.
Even the test identification parade conducted by police to identify Kasab was “doubtful” because the witnesses had failed to describe the clothes worn by Kasab, the lawyer maintained.