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Court to give ruling on age of Kasab tomorrow

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The direction of trial of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the prime accused in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, may be decided tomorrow when the court is expected to give its findings on claim made by him that he is a minor.

On a prosecution plea, judge M L Tahaliyani had ordered an inquiry to determine Kasab's age.

The accused had claimed that he was less than 18 years and therefore could not be tried by the special court.

The inquiry concluded on Wednesday with Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitting forensic and substantive evidence to show that Kasab was not a minor.

The testimony of five witnesses, Ossification (bone) test and dental check has revealed that he was above 20 years.

The witnesses --- Jail Superindent and the doctor who treated Kasab for bullet injuries sustained in a police encounter on the day of terror --- have deposed saying the accused had himself told them that he was 21.

The duo even showed the court the registers wherein they had recorded Kasab's age as 21 years.

However, Kasab has denied telling Jail Superintendent and the doctor that he was 21. His lawyer Abbas Kazmi has also questioned forensic tests saying that these cannot be regarded as authentic and accurate.

If the court rules that Kasab is a minor, then his case would be referred to a Juvenile court for trial. Under the Juvenile Justice Act, the maximum punishment is three years if an accused is found guilty.      

But if the court decides otherwise, Kasab will have to face the trial in the special court. If he is found guilty, he faces punishment ranging from life imprisonment to death penalty for murder and other charges.      

Kasab is charged with killing 166 persons and injuring many others by opening fire indiscriminately along with nine suspected members of LeT at important places in Mumbai on November 26 last year.      

Along with him, two others, Faheem Ansari and Saubbudin, are also facing trial. The duo are charged with conducting a recce of target spots of terror attack and preparing maps to show their locations. These maps were allegedly passed on to LeT conspirators who struck Mumbai with their evil designs.       

The prosecution has already filed charge sheet against Kasab and other two accused. It has also submitted charges proposed to be framed against them.       The charges may be framed after the court gives a ruling on Kasab's age.       

The prosecution has told the court that it might examine 100 witnesses to prove the charges against Kasab and others. Among them are five officers of US' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and forensic experts from abroad.

First Published: Fri, May 01 2009. 13:38 IST