‘Didn’t record false Kasab confession’

The Pakistan judicial commission, which is on a visit to Mumbai to examine the Indian witnesses in the 26/11 terror attack, completed their investigations on Wednesday. During examination, the magistrate who had recorded the confession of lone captured terrorist Ajmal Aamir Kasab, denied before the commission that she had recorded a false statement of the gunman to fix the blame on LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
With heavy security arrangements around the magistrate court on Wednesday, the commission members started the examinations from 11.15 am. Additional chief metropolitan magistrate P.Y. Ladekar was recording the evidence of the two remaining Indian witnesses. “It is not true that I recorded a false statement of Kasab when he was produced before me for giving confession,” said R.V. Sawant-Waghule in reply to a question by Lakhvi’s lawyer, who is a member of the commission.
To another question by Lakhvi’s lawyer on whether Kasab’s confession was recorded immediately after he was produced, the magistrate said that first his (Kasab’s) police remand was changed to judicial remand, and he was given time to retrospect if he wanted to confess. “It is only after sufficient time was given to Kasab to think about giving a confession that his statement was recorded,” said the magistrate during cross-examination.
Meanwhile, 26/11 investigating officer Ramesh Mahale identified before the court the cellphones, global positioning system (GPS) and the dinghy used by the 10 terrorists from Pakistan when they were close to the Mumbai coast on November 26, 2008 to carry out attacks. Mr Mahale also identified the Yamaha engine fitted to the dinghy.
Two doctors, who had conducted the post-mortem of the nine Pakistani terrorists killed by the armed forces in the terror strikes, had on Tuesday deposed in the court, giving their account of the autopsy reports. However, they were not cross-examined by the panel.
This is the commission’s second visit to India. During its visit in March 2013, it had examined the same witnesses; however, cross-examination was not allowed by India, following which the Pakistani court refused to accept the evidence. Subsequently, India and Pakistan agreed to allow cross-examination of the witnesses.
Additionally, Lakhvi’s lawyer strongly objected to the assistance rendered by Ujjwal Nikam to the Pakistani prosecution in the court during the cross-examination of Indian witnesses.
Mr Lakhvi’s lawyer said that proceedings in the 26/11 case were pending before a Pakistani court and hence Mr Nikam should not help the Pakistani prosecution in the recording of evidence.

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