Mumbai Police were in for an unexpected embarrassment on Monday when a special court picked holes in the prosecution theory on the involvement of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, the two Indians accused along with Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case.
"The evidence of the prosecution falls short and cannot be accepted… the evidence against Ansari and Ahmed is unreliable," Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani observed.
Not surprisingly, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam was visibly shocked by the acquittal granted to the two and the special judge's subsequent observations.
The prosecution said that Ansari carried out a recce of several locations in Mumbai and prepared maps, which he handed over to Ahmed.
Ahmed then passed these maps onto Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist leaders in preparation for the Mumbai terror attack.
In his deposition before the court August 27 last year, witness Naruddin M. Shaikh of Goregaon identified Ansari as "a childhood friend" whom he knew for three decades and both lived in the same area.
Considered an important eyewitness to the conspiracy prior to the attacks, Shaikh also identified Ahmed as Ansari's friend with whom he was acquainted in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Dismissing Shaikh's evidence, the special judge noted: "He is a witness who is neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable."
Ujjwal Nikam said Ansari and Sabauddin were "notorious terrorists", they were active members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and were "not passive sleepers".
"I will challenge this verdict. We will recommend to the government to challenge this verdict," Nikam said.