The trial of Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab and Indians Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the 26/11 terror attack case is likely to end this week with the prosecution and defence lawyers informing the court that they may wind up final arguments in four to five days.
Judge M.L. Tahaliyani said if the arguments conclude by March 20, he would defer the case for delivering judgment.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he would take two more days to finish his argument while Kasab’s lawyer K.P. Pawar said he would take one day to put forth his case.
The trial, which commenced almost a year back, is being held in the court set up in the high security central prison at Arthur Road here.
Kasab is lodged in a bullet and bomb proof cell in the same premises adjacent to the court. He is guarded by a strong posse of Indo Tibetan Security Force personnel.
The prosecution has examined 657 witnesses including 30 eyewitness who have identified Kasab in the court as the gunman who had opened fire at them.
Submitting arguments on Monday, Nikam said the reports of ballistic experts have said that the bullets recovered from the bodies of slain police officers Hemant Karkare and Vijay Salaskar had been fired from the AK-47 rifle of Kasab.
He said ballistic reports had disproved Kasab’s stand in his guilt plea that he had not fired at police officers but his accomplice Abu Ismael had killed them.
“By shifting the blame on his partner Abu Ismael, Kasab was trying to escape death penalty,” Nikam said, adding that ballistic reports have proved that he was lying.
The prosecutor harped on the evidence of star witness Arun Jadhav, the police officer who escaped death when Kasab shot at the police jeep. Jadhav was in the same jeep in which police officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamathe were travelling.
While Karkare, Salaskar and Kamathe fell to the bullets fired by Kasab and Ismael, Jadhav was injured in the shootout and he pretended to be dead until the two terrorists left.
Jadhav had identified Kasab in the court and also recognised the photograph of slain terrorist Abu Ismael who had participated in the terror attacks.
According to the report, the empties recovered from Mahapalika Marg near Cama hospital, ATM centre where three police officers were shot dead and Metro junction, had had been fired from Kasab’s rifle.
Prosecutor Nikam also referred to evidence of other witnesses to argue that the two terrorists had stolen a Skoda car at gun point. They drove towards Malabar hill and en route the duo was confronted by police during a checking.
“When trial was in progress, certain persons were interested in publishing conflicting stories in regard to who killed Karkare and this amounted to interference in judicial proceedings,” Nikam argued.