26/11: Pak panel records doctors' evidence, but no cross-examination

Pak Judicial PanelMembers of a judicial commission from Pakistan leave for court for cross-examining the witnesses in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case. (PTI)

An eight-member Pakistan judicial commission, which arrived in the city Monday to cross-examine four Indian witnesses in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, Tuesday recorded the evidence of two doctors who conducted autopsies on the nine Pakistan gunmen killed in the attack. The doctors, however, were not subjected to cross-examination by the Pakistani defence lawyers.

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The judicial commission is visiting in connection with the ongoing trial in a Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court against seven Lashkar men allegedly involved in the 26/11 attack. This is its second visit to India. During the first visit in March 2012, the commission examined four witnesses, but was not allowed to cross-examine them. Due to this, a report submitted by the commission to the Rawalpindi court was not admitted as evidence.

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The commission has now returned to cross-examine the four witnesses — Dr Ganesh Niturkar, a forensic surgeon in JJ Hospital, Dr Shailesh Mohite, head of the forensics department in Nair Hospital, chief investigating officer Ramesh Mahale and Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule, who recorded Ajmal Kasab's confession in February 2009.

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Heavy security was in place around the Esplanade court Tuesday as proceedings were held in-camera. The commission arrived around 10 am and the proceedings continued till 3 pm. "The defence lawyers from Pakistan chose not to cross-examine the two doctors as they perhaps felt there was no point disputing the injuries and deaths caused during the attack," said Ujjwal Nikam, special public prosecutor in the case.

"The Pakistani prosecutors placed an application before the court requesting that certain articles seized during the attack be produced before the court... The court expressed its displeasure that such an application had not been placed earlier. However, when the court asked whether the Government of India had any objection to the request, I told the court that in the interest of justice the request may be granted. An order was passed by the court for the articles to be produced before it tomorrow," said Nikam.

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