Mumbai blast accused wants ministers in witness box

Mumbai, April 22 (Inditop) Lashkar-e-Taiba activist Sabahuddin Mohammed, accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, wants union minister A.R. Antulay and Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane in the witness box during the trial, his lawyer Aejaz Naqvi said in court Tuesday.

As the trial of three men accused in last November’s terror attacks continued in a special court here, Naqvi said examining the two ministers as witnesses could help throw more light on the case, since both had made a number of statements pertaining to the incident.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam confirmed that Sabahuddin’s lawyer Naqvi had sought the court’s permission to call Rane and Antulay as witnesses.

Antulay had raised doubts over the killing of certain police officers during the attacks, including former Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare. Over 170 people were killed in the attacks.

Rane had kicked up a political storm when he claimed that some politicians he refused to name had links with terrorists.

Meanwhile, in the special court presided over by Judge M.L. Tahilyani, the prosecution Tuesday sought a medical and dental examination of lone nabbed terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab to determine his age. Kasab has claimed he is below 18 and should be tried in a court for juveniles.

Tahilyani rejected Kasab’s plea to be handed over a copy of the 11,500-page charge-sheet in Urdu. However, he gave 10 days to Kasab and his lawyer S.G. Abbas Kazmi to study the current charge-sheet, which is in English, Hindi and Marathi. The next hearing will be on May 2.

Kazmi told journalists 10 days were not sufficient, but it would help him and his client get a feel of the case. “This is not a delay tactic on our part, we are giving full cooperation to the prosecution in the trial,” Kazmi asserted.