Captured terrorist to be tried in special court (Lead)

December 17th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, Dec 17 (IANS) Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai mayhem, will be tried in a special court to ensure a speedy trial, the Maharashtra government said Wednesday. It appointed Ujjwal Nikam - who fought the 1993 Mumbai bombings case - as special public prosecutor for this case.State Home Minister Jayant Patil told the legislature meeting in winter session in this second capital of the state that Mumbai Police would file a charge sheet against Amir within the stipulated 60-day period.

Amir was caught alive and has been in police custody, while nine of his associates were killed during the 60-hour terror attacks that left at least 170 other people dead.

Nikam attained fame for successfully leading and guiding for over 13 years the state case in the March 12, 1993, Mumbai serial bomb explosions. The trial ended in 2007 with several important convictions, including that of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

Patil also announced that the state police would soon acquire a helicopter and 36 high-speed boats to beef up security on the state’s 760-km long coastline.

The terrorists involved in the 26/11 attacks came from Karachi and reached south Mumbai undetected from the Arabian Sea.

The home minister said the defunct state Intelligence Bureau (IB) will be revived and 25 vacant posts in it will be filled soon.

Patil’s announcements came during his reply to a house debate of Tuesday on the Mumbai terror attacks.

Unveiling an action plan to strengthen Mumbai’s security in the wake of the latest terror strike, Patil said the best of weapons, technology and know-how available anywhere in the world will be brought in to guard against any future attack with hundred percent success.

“I have already talked to the Chicago police in this respect and expert teams have already been sent to some other countries to study their security set-up,” he said.

A State Security Guard will soon be constituted on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG) - the central force that led the operation against the terrorists - and 25 new posts of officers in the intelligence apparatus will be filled within two months, followed by 65 more in the shortest possible time after that, Patil added.

“In order to save time, the recruitment process will be kept out of the purview of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission,” he said.

While speed boats with aluminum cladding and MP-5 guns are some of the new items in the shopping list of weapons and other things in the security apparatus, creation of 23 check-posts along the coastline is a part of the security beef-up plan.

The 26/11 terrorists had taken a sea route from Karachi to Mumbai, crossing the coastline from near the Gateway of India, baring its porosity.

The state government’s defence against the criticism on this score was that a distance of only four nautical miles is within its sole jurisdiction and another eight nautical miles in tandem with customs, the distance further deep inside the sea being the responsibility of the Coast Guard and the navy.

Clarifying the home minister’s reply, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said an amount of Rs.1.27 billion has already been sanctioned for purchase of weapons and equipment and that the money will be spent before March 31, 2009.

Responding to a vociferous opposition demand for action against Maharashtra Director General of Police Anomy Roy and Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Ghafoor for aleged dereliction of duty in the face of the terror strike, Chavan said a high-level inquiry would be carried out to fix the responsibility for the security lapses and the guilty would be punished.

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