Defective ammunition in outdated guns is probably what failed the many of the Mumbai policemen on November 26.
Constable Harshad Patil told the special court on Monday that he could not fire on terror suspect Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and his accomplice Abu Ismail at the local terminal area of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on November 26.
“I tried to fire at the attackers armed with AK-47 rifles but very first bullet misfired from my .303 rifle rendering the weapon useless,” said Patil, the 59th prosecution witness in the 26/11 terror attack trial.
After a question from Judge ML Tahilyani, Patil clarified that the cartridge was blocked inside and thus jammed the gun.
“The bullet was very old and defective which caused jamming of the gun on firing of very first round,” Patil said. “I tried to open the bolt of the rifle to remove the jammed bullet, but it did not open.”
Patil then took shelter behind a pillar with RPF Head Constable Jillu Yadav, who, too, made a futile attempt to open the bolt.
During cross-examination, Patil said he had checked the functioning of the rifle bolt, when he had reported to duty, two hours before the incident.
Referring to testimony of other policemen who, too, went through the same frustrating experience, Judge Tahilyani observed that not maintaining the guns properly was also a reason that aggravated the problem.
Another witness, Gitanjali Gurav, a police commando, told the court that though she was trained specifically in handling weapons, she had no weapon on that night. Gurav was placed at a strategic location — in the passage connecting the main line and the local line of CST.
She also stated there were about 50 policemen inside CST when Kasab and Ismail fired indiscriminately at passengers.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Sudam Pandarkar testified he had fired two rounds on Kasab and Ismail, before a bullet from the terrorists injured him.
Another policeman Ambadas Pawar had used his .303 rifle and fired one round but all bullets missed the ‘buddy pair’, he said.