‘We have strong evidence against Ansari, Ahmed’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘We have strong evidence against Ansari, Ahmed’

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil says 26/11 terror attack co-accused Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed have been given the “benefit of doubt”... But they have strong evidence against them.

mumbai Updated: May 04, 2010 03:07 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

Life has come a full circle for Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil.
In 2008, Patil had come under severe criticism after the terror attacks and lost his post as state Home minister.
On Monday, almost a year and a half later, Patil is more careful as he talks to Hindustan Times on Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab’s conviction, co-accused Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed’s acquittal.

Your reaction to the verdict...
It is a historical record of sorts... A free and fair trial conducted with 658 witnesses and a charge sheet that ran into 13,200 pages — that the trial was completed in such a short time is commendable. I cannot forget the gallant policemen and National Security Guards who laid down their lives for us.

Will the state appeal against the acquittal of Ansari and Ahmed?
They have been given the “benefit of doubt”... But we have strong evidence against them. We will read the judgement copy, consult our legal department and decide on going for an appeal in the next three days.

You say there was strong evidence against the duo, so did the investigators and government lawyer fall short?
Our lawyer has done a good job... but we will see how they [Ansari and Ahmed] got the “benefit of doubt”.

Will the state ensure that Kasab gets death sentence?
Kasab has been charged with murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy and waging war against the nation among other criminal charges. Under these Acts, he must be charged with the highest punishment in the Indian Penal Code — death sentence. Our lawyer will appeal for it.

What about Kasab’s co-conspirators in Pakistan?
We will appeal to the Central government to ask the Pakistani government to hand over the 20 co-conspirators to India. They are as responsible as Kasab as they too have been proven guilty along with him.