26/11 conspiracy hatched in Pakistan, asserts prosecution

Mumbai, March 9 (IANS) The 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and the terrorists were trained by the Pakistan Army, the prosecution said, starting its final arguments in the trial of Ajmal Amir Kasab here Tuesday.

Charging that the terror attacks were ‘state-sponsored’, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that even the Pakistani Army was involved and had trained the 10 attackers who attacked Mumbai Nov 26, 2008.

Elaborating, Nikam said that the prime accused, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and his associates, besides getting training by the Pakistani military, had got intelligence training from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) under the supervision of Pakistani military officers.

State Home Minister R.R. Patil and Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe were present in the court as the trial entered its critical phase with the final arguments starting Tuesday.

Shortly after the proceedings, Nikam told mediapersons that he was confident that the trial would be ‘completed within another one-and-half months’.

Earlier, Nikam said Kasab had recorded in his confession the presence of a Pakistani Major-General, but his name was deliberately not revealed to the terror group as he is a senior officer in the Pakistan army.

Moreover, Nikam claimed that since the Pakistani Army and the LeT were working hand-in-glove, attempts were made to hide Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attacks.

‘In his confessional statement, Kasab had said that one Major-General had come to meet them during their training sessions. But his name was not disclosed to the attackers. Thus it is necessary to find out why his name was not revealed. This means it is to curtail his identity and we are sure that he was from Pakistani Army,’ Nikam said.

He said the attackers were issued fake identity cards and their masters had instructed them not to reveal their true identities or nationality and ensure that Pakistan’s name did not crop up. Nikam said the attackers had followed the Al Qaeda manual which provides information on how to mislead investigators.

‘The kind of training that they received with regards to handling of sophisticated weapons, GPS and mobiles, sailing, and other things indicate that any other organisation could not provide such detailed training as it is taught in the military,’ Nikam said.

‘This is the reason that till date Pakistan has refused to take responsibility for the attacks and also not claimed the bodies of the nine slain terrorists,’ Nikam added.

Referring to the co-accused Sahahuddin Ahmed and Fahim Ansari, Nikam contended that though their role was limited to providing maps of targeted sites to the LeT, they were also aware of the terror conspiracy.

Extra tight security arrangements were made within and outside the Special Court premises in the Arthur Road Central Jail as the two ministers witnessed the proceedings.

Also present in the special court were Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria, who directed the probe into the terror attacks, and another senior officer, Deven Bharti.

Kasab, the sole Pakistani terrorist nabbed alive after the Nov 26-29, 2008 attacks, is accused of killing 166 people, while co-accused Ahmed and Ansari are charged with providing background and logistics support to the 10-member terror group.

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