The Special court conducting the trial in the November 26, 2008, terror attack case has said producing accused Zabiuddin Ansari before court is “necessary”. Ansari, who was arrested in 2012, is lodged in solitary confinement at Arthur Road jail and is produced for the trial through video-conference.
On Tuesday, Special Judge Govind A Sanap said the identity of the accused was one of the important issues in the trial. “I personally feel that whenever a witness comes to court to give evidence on identity of the accused, the personal production of the accused is necessary,” the judge said. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that the government had taken a decision not to produce Ansari in court as he had a threat to his life.
“The possibility of serious repercussions and consequences on account of failure of production of the accused in court to prove his identity could be very serious and may arise in the future. In my view, the prosecution and the government cannot afford to be very light on the issue. They have to reconsider their decision to the above extent,” the court said.
Alleged to have coordinated the 26/11 terror attack instructing the 10 attackers in Mumbai from a control room in Karachi, Ansari was arrested in 2012 from Delhi. Due to security concerns cited by the Maharashtra government, Ansari is not physically produced before court. Nikam submitted that Ansari had filed a plea before the Bombay High Court, seeking to be produced before the court, which was rejected. The court, however, said that was at a stage when the trial had not begun against Ansari.
On Tuesday, the court resumed the trial against Ansari with the deposition of a translator who had helped the Mumbai Police translate documents, including a passport and an identity card belonging to Ansari. Advocate Wahab Khan, who represents Ansari, sought further time to cross-examine the witness, stating that he required to take instructions from him by meeting him in jail.
The court said since the translation was provided to the defence on Tuesday, time sought by him could not be rejected, and made further observations on the need to produce him before the court.
The Mumbai Police had on Monday sought help from the witness to translate documents, including a Pakistani passport and a national identity card issued by the government of Pakistan. The witness told the court that he had translated the documents from Urdu into English and from Arabic into English. His cross-examination will continue on Thursday.