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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

26/11: Pak panel cross-examines key witnesses

PTI  Mumbai, September 24, 2013
First Published: 13:28 IST(24/9/2013) | Last Updated: 13:30 IST(24/9/2013)

An eight-member Pakistani judicial commission began to cross-examine Indian witnesses to the 26/11 terror attack case amid tight security arrangements here on Tuesday.

This is the commission's second visit to India. During the first visit, the panel had examined the same witnesses. Now, the witnesses are being cross-examined which was refused earlier.

The commission members arrived at 11am at a magistrate court to cross-examine witnesses of the Mumbai attack in connection with prosecution of seven suspects held in the neighbouring country for their alleged role in the crime.

Police are keeping a strict vigil in and around the court. A thick security blanket is in place at the premises and a  dog squad has been pressed into service, police sources said.

The proceedings began with Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, representing the Government of India, introducing the members of the commission to the court while emphasising on the need of evidence from Indian witnesses against the attack conspirators, whose trial is pending in Pakistan.

The evidence is being recorded by additional chief metropolitan magistrate PY Ladekar.

The Indian witnesses are: city magistrate RV Sawant-Waghule, who recorded LeT member Ajmal Kasab's confession, the chief investigating officer in 26/11 case, Ramesh Mahale and two doctors who conducted the autopsy of the Pakistani terrorists, involved in the audacious attacks in November 2008, official sources said.

The Pakistani judicial commission was slated to come earlier to India but the visit was postponed due to murder of special public prosecutor in Pakistan.

The commission includes two officers from anti-terror court of Pakistan, two defence witnesses and a new special public prosecutor, sources said.

Nikam said a report submitted by the panel after its first visit in March 2012 was rejected by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan as the Commission members were not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.

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