Sunday, Aug 14, 2022 | Last Update : 03:55 PM IST

  India   All India  26 Nov 2018  Trial of 26/11 handler still pending

Trial of 26/11 handler still pending

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAHAB ANSARI
Published : Nov 26, 2018, 12:41 am IST
Updated : Nov 26, 2018, 5:16 am IST

In fact, the Bombay high court has stayed the trial because the government does not wish to share documents detailing how Jundal had reached India.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the buidlings targeted on 26/11.
 The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the buidlings targeted on 26/11.

Mumbai: Ten years since terrorists wreaked havoc in the city on November 26, 2008, the trial against the sole captive accused, Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, is still pending in court.

In fact, the Bombay high court has stayed the trial because the government does not wish to share documents detailing how Jundal had reached India.

The Bombay high court granted a stay on the trial after the Delhi police’s special cell approached it in April 2018 challenging the trial court order that had asked the prosecution to provide Jundal’s travel documents to his defence lawyer. The police claimed privilege over the documents and requested the high court to quash and set aside the trial court’s order that had directed it to furnish the copies of documents.

While admitting the petition for hearing, the high court granted a stay on the trial pending the hearing.

However, the court had heard the petition for the last time in April and now the next date of hearing on this petition is in February 2019 and hence there is no possibility of a trial against Jundal getting started again before this date.

After Ajmal Amir Kasab, Jundal, an alleged handler of the attackers, is the only accused currently in the Indian police’s custody while rest of the conspirators are still at large. Another accused, David Coleman Headley, has turned approver in the case and has been pardoned by the trial court.

The prosecution’s case is that Jundal was not only involved in the terror conspiracy but also played an active role in its execution by staying in the temporary control room built in Karachi, Pakistan, from where attackers were issued fresh instructions through Voice over Internet Protocol. The handlers were watching the news on television and keeping the attackers updated, and — according to the prosecution — Jundal was one such handler.

ACP Manishi Chandra, the police officer from Delhi who had arrested Jundal, as a witness, had told the trial court that he had apprehended Jundal outside Indira Gandhi International Airport on June 21, 2012, after receiving a tip-off from his informer.

On the other hand, the defence has claimed that Mr Chandra’s two subordinates, Negi and Bhushan, had gone to Saudi Arabia and brought Jundal to India with them by a Jet Airways flight. According to the defence, Mr Chandra’s unit had written a letter to the ministry of external affairs seeking a temporary travel document for Jundal so that he could be brought back to India from Saudi Arabia as his passport had expired. Mr Chandra however, said that he was not aware of any such letter and denied that his officers had brought Jundal from Saudi Arabia.

Jundal has claimed that he was not arrested but deported to India from Saudi Arabia.

The defence had sought his travel documents after a witness, retired passport officer Sitaram Gharat, had told the court that a letter that is part of the chargesheet was sent to the Mumbai police by him. This witness told the court that an emergency passport was issued on June 9, 2012, for Jundal’s travel.

On the defence’s request, the trial court directed the prosecution to provide copies of travel documents, but the Delhi police challenged this order before the HC.

Tags: 26/11 mumbai terror attacks, bombay high court
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)