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Final arguments in 26/11 terror trial to start March 9

Mumbai, Feb 23 (IANS) A special court hearing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case Tuesday posted March 9 as the date to begin the final arguments in the case.

Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani Tuesday asked both the prosecution and the defence to be ready for their final arguments – marking a significant phase in the trial which is now in its tenth month.

The arguments will be carried out under Section 314 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

‘The phase of arguments – meaning summing up the entire case or the assessment of the complete evidence – before the court, marks the step immediately prior to the final judgement in a criminal trial,’ explained noted criminal lawyer J.P. Mishra.

In this, the prosecution will justify how the charges against the accused are proved and the defence lawyers will counter it, according to Mishra.

After the arguments, which could take several days, it will be time for the day of judgment for Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the lone surviving 26/11 terrorist, said Mishra, who was the defence lawyer in the corruption trial of former Maharashtra chief minister A.R. Antulay in the early 1990s.

Earlier, Special Judge Tahilyani dismissed an application filed by Sabahuddin Ahmed, one of the co-accused in the case, seeking examination of officials from the National Investigation Agency, the Gujarat police, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s son Rahul and a gym trainer Vilas Varak.

The judge ruled that since it was not clear what evidence the accused wanted to bring on record from these persons, it would be a waste of the court’s time.

Ahmed had sought to examine NIA chief S.C. Sinha, Gujarat Director-General of Police S.S. Khandwawala, Rahul Dutt and Varak – both of whom had met and interacted with the Lashkar-E-Taeba operative David Coleman Headley during his sojourn in Mumbai. Headley is at present in custody of the US police.

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