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Central & South Asia
India braces for Mumbai verdict
Heavy security ahead of expected ruling in case of suspected attacker.
Last Modified: 02 May 2010 18:15 GMT


At least 166 people died in bombings and shootings across Mumbai in November 2008

Indian police have increased security around a court in Mumbai before the expected verdict in the trial of a Pakistani man accused of killing scores of people during the November 2008 attacks on the city.
 
22-year-old Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is allegedly one of the ten armed men who killed 166 people in a three-day assault on the city.

Kasab is accused of more than 300 crimes, including "waging war against the state," an offense which carries the death penalty.

He is the only alleged gunman to stand trial. The other nine alleged attackers were killed during the rampage.

India's interior ministry issued a statement urging citizens to avoid crowded places on Monday, while police have increased patrols throughout the city.

Confession retracted
 
Kasab was allegedly arrested in a stolen car at a roadblock shortly after the attacks.

Prosecutors presented a range of evidence during his seven-month trial, including fingerprints, DNA evidence, security camera footage and photographs allegedly showing Kasab carrying an assault rifle.

Kasab first denied the charges, then pleaded guilty, before reversing his guilty plea, claiming he was set up by police.
 
M.L. Tahaliyani, the judge presiding over the case, has spent more than a month reviewing the evidence. He said in March that he planned to issue a verdict on May 3.

Two Indians, accused of providing the attackers with maps of Mumbai, are also on trial.
 
Thirty-five other people have been named as "co-conspirators" in the case. Seven of them, including a founder of the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba, are currently on trial in Pakistan. India blames the group for masterminding the attacks.
 
The Pakistani government last month asked India to hand over Kasab and one of his co-defendants, but the Indian government has not responded to the request.

Source:
Agencies
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