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'NRI wanted to go on shooting spree'

Prosecution maintains Biswanath Halder attacked as he believed a student computer lab staff had hacked into a website he designed to assist Indians.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2005 11:42 IST
Sridhar Krishnaswami (PTI)
Sridhar Krishnaswami (PTI)

An Indian-American man tried to kill as many people he could in a seven-hour shooting rampage at the Case Reserve Western University in Ohio in 2003, which he planned for more than a year, prosecutors have said as his trial began in a Cleaveland court.

One person died in the standoff inside the university's business school and the prosecution maintains that Biswanath Halder, originally from Kolkata and now a naturalised US citizen, attacked because he believed a student computer lab employee had hacked into a website he designed to provide business assistance to India.

Now 65 years of age, Halder graduated from the school in 1999 with a master's degree in business administration.

"This case is about two things, arrogance and selfishness," Assistant County Prosecutor Rick Bell told the jury in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

Halder, accused of killing student Norman Wallace and injuring two other persons during the siege on May 9, 2003, has repeatedly said information he considered vital to his own life's work was destroyed.

The defence position is that Halder was trying to protect "mankind" from a cyber criminal.

Halder has been charged with 202 felony counts, including aggravated murder and terrorism and has been accused of 338 various felony counts, but more than 100 were dropped because some witnesses to the shooting spree were unavailable. If convicted, Halder could be sentenced to death.

First Published: Nov 29, 2005 11:09 IST