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26/11 trial court not yet ready

india Updated: Apr 05, 2009 00:55 IST
Vignesh Iyer
Vignesh Iyer
Hindustan Times
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The next hearing in the November 26-29 terrorist attack case on Monday will not be conducted on the premises of the high-security Arthur Road jail.

Expectations were high the hearing would be held on the jail premises, where the authorities have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure the safety of the accused.

But security agencies are not satisfied and want additions to the safety-enhancing structures constructed so far.
As a result, accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin will be produced in the Fort court of Judge M.L. Thailyani via video conferencing.

The Public Works Department (PWD), which has completed the construction of the structure on the jail premises according to specifications originally given to it, is now constructing the additional features so that the special court can move in soon.

“Kasab’s next hearing will be via video conferencing, as security agencies recommended construction of some additional towers and asked for some other security measures in the (Arthur Road) jail,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.

“All this will be completed by the end of next week.”

The lawyer added that the PWD had already asked the jail authorities for a week’s time to make the additions and that the court would be ready by next Saturday.

Arthur Road jail superintendent confirmed Monday’s hearing would be conducted via video link in the sessions court in Fort.

“The next hearing will be conducted via video conferencing,” said Jailor Swati Sathe. “I cannot say anything more for security reasons.”

The court is also likely to provide a copy of the chargesheet on Monday to the defence lawyers, Anjali Waghmare and K.P. Pawar, appointed from the legal aid panel.

The Navi Mumbai police have also provided a personal guard to Pawar, who will assist Waghmare during the trial.

Kasab is the lone surviving suspect from among the executors of the November 26 attack, which killed over 170 people in the city.