Kasab trial opens amid media glare and tight security

April 15th, 2009 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) The trial of Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive in the Mumbai terror strike, and two others accused of the carnage opened at the Arthur Road Central Jail here Wednesday under a tight security blanket.
Kasab, the prime accused in the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror attack in which over 170 people were killed, was for the first time due to be presented before the Special Court, presided over by Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani.

Until now, he had been questioned by the Special Judge only through video-conferencing. The other two accused are Lashkar-e-Taiba activists Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Mohammed.

The court-appointed government lawyer for Kasab, Anjali Waghmare, arrived under a tight security cover provided to her last week by the state government.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam will lead the government charge against the accused.

All three accused are lodged in the jail complex in separate cells, where extra security measures have been taken and which is under 24×7 electronic surveillance.

Nearly 500 policemen from the Mumbai police, the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), along with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force and the jail’s own internal security have put in place a tight security cover inside and outside the jail premises.

They are aided by electronic surveillance with CCTVs installed outside the jail gates, the approach roads, inside the jail leading to the courtroom and other strategic locations.

All the roads leading to the jail, situated in a congested locality of south Mumbai, have been barricaded and vehicles checked thoroughly before being allowed to proceed. Even pedestrians were being stopped at random and subjected to checks before permitted to proceed.

Till Tuesday evening, over 300 special security passes had been issued to enable the national and international media and crews to cover the trial that is being held under the spotlight of the global media.

Minister of State for Home Naseem Khan, accompanied by senior police and civil officials, had gone around the jail premises Tuesday evening and reviewed all arrangements.

While the trial has kicked off, day to day hearings are yet to begin with pre-trial formalities being completed.

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