The much-awaited final verdict in the 26/11 attacks case is likely to be pronounced only in mid-January 2010.
This became clear on Wednesday after defence lawyer K.P. Pawar sought to cross-examine 91 out of 317 formal prosecution witnesses, whose evidence has been tendered on their affidavits.
Some more witnesses are likely to be added to the list of those to be cross-examined. Affidavits of 17 doctors, who had conducted autopsies on the bodies of those killed in the gruesome attacks, are yet to be scrutinised.
The special judge M.L. Tahaliyani has, however, set December 10 as the outer time limit for completing the cross-examinations. That will also mark completion of recording evidence against the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab and the two locals – Fahim Arshad Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
The final verdict, however, is expected to take at least a month thereafter. During this period, statements of the accused under section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure will be recorded, which will be followed by final arguments from both prosecution and defence.
Apart from the cross-examination of the formal prosecution witnesses, testimonies of four more prosecution witnesses are yet to be recorded. But, their testimonies are expected to be completed in a day or two.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said these witnesses include Shiv Sharan, joint secretary in the Ministry Of Home Affairs, Deven Bharti, additional commissioner of police, Ajay Saxena, additional commissioner of police and Ramesh Mahale, chief investigation officer and senior police inspector.