Seven months into the trial of the 26/11 terror attacks, the prosecution on Wednesday winded up its case before a special court which fixed on December 18 to record the statement of lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab.
The prosecution wrapped up examination of evidences and a total of 610 witnesses against Kasab and two Indian accused--Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
The court will record the statement of Kasab under Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on the evidences and witnesses produced by the prosecution on December 18.
Kasab's lawyer K P Pawar, however, argued that the trial should proceed only after Kasab is medically fit.
Special Judge M L Tahilyani then asked Kasab if he was ill, to which the Pakistani national replied in the negative and said he was fit to give his statement.
"The trial began on May 8 and in about seven months the prosecution on Wednesday closed the case," Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
The prosecution's aim was not only to prove the case against Kasab, but also expose the prime conspirators from Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), he said.
"Kasab is one of the instruments of the terror outfit. He and the nine other slain terrorists were a small part of LeT which wanted to inflict serious damage to India by attacking its commercial capital," Nikam told PTI.
The prosecution has tabled concrete evidence of Pakistan's links to the attacks in the form of telephone intercepts between the terrorists and their Pakistani handlers, he said.
The special court had in the beginning of the trial issued non-bailable warrants against 27 absconding accused, including LeT founder Hafeez Sayeed and the outfit's chief of operations Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
The warrants have been forwarded to the Interpol for execution but so far no one has been arrested.
The prosecution's evidence also includes Kasab's statement before a magistrate, in which the gunman has revealed that he and his associates were trained in a LeT camp in Pakistan.
Of the 610 witnesses, the prosecution examined 267 personally, which included senior police officials, forensic experts, eye-witnesses and FBI officials.
The evidences of the remaining formal witnesses have been adduced in the form of affidavits before the court.
These witnesses were not examined personally as they were formal in nature and included those who had carried bodies of victims to hospitals, relatives of victims who claimed the bodies, people who suffered damage to their properties and medical officers who treated the victims.
In all 30 witnesses identified Kasab in the identification parade and in the court. Forensic experts have also given their opinion that the DNA samples collected from the boat - Kuber (in which terrorists landed in Mumbai), matched with the DNA of Kasab and other slain terrorists.
The prosecution has screened in the court CCTV footages of terrorists from cameras installed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Times of India Building (opposite CST), Hotel Taj and Hotel Oberoi-Trident.
Besides CCTV footages, weapons and RDX seized from Kasab and the slain terrorists have been placed as evidence.
The prosecution is banking on a plea made by Kasab in the court mid-way the trial partly accepting his guilt in the crime.
Kasab had admitted in the court to have taken part in the conspiracy, but said he played a secondary role in the terror attacks as Abu Ismael was his leader.
The gunman has denied he had fatally shot police officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamate and Constable Tukaram Omble.
The prosecution is relying upon evidence tendered by foreign experts, who said the mobile phones, used by nine terrorists while talking to their Pakistani handlers during the assault, were imported by a Pakistan firm from China to back its case that the plot was hatched in the neighbouring country.
FBI sleuths have also deposed and told the court that GPS recovered from the accused indicated that the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan.
In its evidence against the arrested Indian accused, the prosecution is relying on a witness who identified Ansari and Ahmed, saying he had seen maps of target locations in their hands before the attacks during his tour to Nepal.
The prosecution has adduced evidence to show that Ansari had procured a Pakistani passport on strength of bogus documents. The handwriting in the maps seized from slain terrorist Abu Ismael had matched with maps recovered from Ansari after his arrest in Lucknow.
The accused are facing charges under IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Foreigners Act, Passport (Entry into India) Act, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, Damage to Public Properties Act, Indian Railway Act and Customs Act.
A total of 166 persons, including nationals from UK, USA and Israel, were killed and 304 others injured when terrorists struck at Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi-Trident, Nariman House, CST, Cama Hospital and Cafe Leopold. The terrorists also planted bombs in two taxis which exploded.