Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:24 am (KSA) 21:24 pm (GMT)

Indian court convicts Mumbai attack gunman

The November 2008 attacks left 166 people dead (File)
The November 2008 attacks left 166 people dead (File)

An Indian court on Monday found a Pakistani man guilty on 86 charges from the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed scores, including waging war on India and murder, in a trial that strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the attacks that killed 166 people, will be sentenced on Tuesday and could face the gallows. He is the first to be convicted over the November 2008 attacks

"It was not a simple act of murder. It was war," judge M.L. Tahiliyani said in a summary of the 1,522 page judgment. "This type of preparation is not made by ordinary criminals. This type of preparation is made by those waging war."

 It was not a simple act of murder. It was war 
Judge M.L. Tahiliyani

An Indian court on Monday found a Pakistani man guilty on 86 charges from the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed scores, including waging war on India and murder, in a trial that strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the attacks that killed 166 people, will be sentenced on Tuesday and could face the gallows. He is the first to be convicted over the November 2008 attacks

"It was not a simple act of murder. It was war," judge M.L. Tahiliyani said in a summary of the 1,522 page judgment. "This type of preparation is not made by ordinary criminals. This type of preparation is made by those waging war."

Indians acquitted

The court acquitted two Indian nationals accused of being LeT members and of conducting reconnaissance in Mumbai. India has charged 38 people in connection with the attacks, most of them living in Pakistan.

The judge at the high-security court in Mumbai ordered that Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, accused of helping the gunmen with logistical support, be released from prison, leaving the prosecution with questions to answer.

Ansari was arrested in February 2008 and accused of being trained by LeT after an attack on a police camp in northern India. Sabauddin was his alleged accomplice.

But judge Tahaliyani said the "quality and quantity" of the prosecution evidence -- that they made hand-drawn maps of targets in Mumbai and passed them on to LeT commanders in Pakistan -- was lacking.

Witnesses were unreliable while the theory that the pair drew the map, sent it to the LeT, who in turn gave it the gunmen four days before the attack "does not fit in the whole scheme of the conspiracy", he said.

He said he doubted that hand-drawn maps from Ansari and Sabauddin, who were in police custody at the time of the attacks in November 2008, would have been used in an assault that had such "meticulous planning".

Earlier this year, a U.S.-Pakistani national, David Coleman Headley, admitted having scouted out targets for the attacks and providing intelligence to the attackers.

He is in U.S. custody but Tahaliyani rejected an application for him to give evidence.

Caught on tape

Many foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elite, as well as poor train commuters, 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.

Kasab, 22, was filmed walking through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.

Police arrested Kasab, who was wounded, on the first night of the attacks. He initially admitted his role but later said he had been framed.

On Monday, Kasab, dressed in white, stood but did not react to a summary of the verdict read out to him in Hindi by the judge and then sat down.

He was also found guilty of offences ranging from damage to public property to entering the country without a passport.

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