Mumbai attacks trial in limbo

THE trial of the sole surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks was adjourned yesterday to give the prosecution more time torespond to his dramatic confession that he took part in the carnage.

Judge ML Tahaliyani said prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had until today to prepare his response, after Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’s shock admission that he was one of the 10extremist gunmen.

“If his plea is to be accepted, then what should be the next stage? Does his plea cover all the charges levelled against him?” the judge told Nikam.

Nikam gave an indication he could push for the trial to continue, telling reporters that Kasab’s statement was only a partial admission of guilt and did not cover all 86 charges he faces.

Two other defendants are also on trial charged with providing vital logistical support to the attackers, he added.

Before the adjournment, Kasab told the court he had orders to take hostages at the city’s main railway station, where he and an accomplice opened fire and threw grenades, killing 52 and injuring more than 100 others. “We were also directed to fire at any persons who might come,” the 21-year-old told the judge.

Tahaliyani then banned press reporting of a separate statement in which Kasab appeared to suggest a reason for the attacks “in theinterests of communal harmony”.

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