Mumbai terrorism trial ends, verdict due May 3
A special court in India on Wednesday concluded the high-profile Mumbai terrorism trial and was expected to announce its verdict on May 3, officials said, DPA reported.
The prosecution and defence completed their arguments and the court examined evidence from more than 650 witnesses in the case against the sole surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab and two Indian defendants Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said outside the court in Mumbai.
Kasab, a militant from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, faces 86 charges ranging from waging war on India to murder, kidnapping and destabilizing the government. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.
"The trial against dreaded Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab concluded today. We (the prosecution) have tried to show the linkages between Kasab, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani army behind the attacks," Nikam said.
"The court has announced May 3 as the day of judgment. If the court finds him guilty, then it will subsequently pronounce the quantum of sentence," he added.
The trial began on May 8 last year.
The prosecution's aim was not only to prove the case against Kasab, but also to expose the prime conspirators from the LeT and Pakistani army, Nikam said.
"When I opened my arguments, I said that this is a classic case of state-sponsored terrorism and some people from the security apparatus of Pakistan are involved in the attacks," he said.
"We have adduced cogent, concrete and consistent evidence in support of our contention. I think the court will appreciate it," he added.
The charges allege that key planners of the assaults included LeT leaders Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah.
The attacks in November 2008 damaged relations between the two South Asian nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan and derailed a five-year peace process.
According to the prosecution, Kasab was arrested the morning after he and nine other terrorists landed in Mumbai by boat from Karachi and launched the attacks.
The terrorists struck with explosives and assault rifles at 13 locations, including two hotels, a train station, a cafe and Jewish centre.
By the time the siege ended three days later, at least 166 people, including 26 foreign nationals, were dead.