Verdict on Mumbai attack suspect today
Mumbai, May 3, 2010
An Indian court will deliver a verdict on Monday in the trial of a Pakistani accused of being the lone surviving gunman in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a case that has strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Mohammad Ajmal Kasab is charged with 86 offences including waging war on India and murder. He could face the gallows if found guilty.
Kasab was caught on tape strolling through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back, prosecutors say. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.
Kasab, wounded by police and arrested on the first night of the attacks, initially admitted his role and then said he had been framed.
At least 166 people, including foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elites, were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best known landmarks including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre.
Two Indian nationals accused of being members of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and conducting reconnaissance in Mumbai before the attack, are also on trial.
The Mumbai attack prompted New Delhi to break off peace talks with Pakistan, saying Islamabad must first act against militants operating from its soil, including the LeT, of which Kasab is accused of being a member.
India had charged 38 people in connection with the attack, most of them living in Pakistan.
The verdict comes days after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan held talks in Bhutan and asked their officials to take steps to normalise relations, signalling a thaw in ties that analysts say should not be affected by Monday's verdict.
One risk to normalising relations is another major militant attack in India and ensuing political pressure that could force the government to break off the dialogue process. – Reuters