The Ministry of Home Affairs will soon approach the Bombay High Court to seek its approval for the visit of the Pakistani Judicial Commission this month-end in connection with the cases related to the Mumbai terror attacks.
According to MHA sources, India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to facilitate the second visit of the commission to cross-examine four witnesses in the 26/11 attack case so that their statements could be admissible in the Rawalpindi court, where the case is currently being heard.
These witnesses are Metropolitan Magistrate Rama Vijay Sawant-Waghule, who recorded the confessional statement of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was hanged in a Pune jail; Chief Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale; and two doctors from the State-run Nair and JJ Hospitals, who had conducted autopsies of nine terrorists who carried out the attack.
Senior MHA officials, who discussed legal and technical issues with their counterparts in Pakistan last week, finalised the agreement to pave the way for the Pakistan commission’s second visit to Mumbai.
“We will approach the Bombay High Court within the next couple of days to get clearance for cross-examination of the witnesses in the Mumbai terror attack case … Once the approval is received, we will convey the same to Pakistan which in turn will inform the Lahore High Court for intimation to the Rawalpindi court,” a senior official said.
Seven terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been charged with planning and financing 26/11. Notably, the findings of the first Pakistani Judicial Commission that visited India in March last were rejected by the Rawalpindi court as the panel’s members were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses and given access only to material evidences.
During his recent visit to India, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik had agreed to give an Indian judicial commission access to Pakistani suspects after the Pakistan commission visited Mumbai.