The Supreme Court on Wednesday left the Mumbai police embarrassed as it acquitted Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed of all charges in connection with 26/11.
The police had charged both with providing the 10 terrorists, including Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, with vital logistical support. But the court held that the evidence provided by the police did not prove the two had a role in the attack.
The UP police had arrested Ansari and Ahmed in 2008 in connection with an attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur. The crime branch of the Mumbai police took both in custody to investigate their role in 26/11. Crime branch officers had claimed that the blood-stained map seized from Ismail Khan, the team leader of the terrorists, was prepared by Ansari and Ahmed. The two had handed it over to a Lashkar operative in Nepal who took it to Lashkar handlers in Pakistan. On November 26, 2008, Khan was gunned down near Girgaum while his partner Kasab was arrested alive.
According to the police, the map helped the terrorists to locate their targets.
The defence argued that the police had planted the maps.
While acquiting the two, the court observed that the LeT will not rely on a handmade map at a time when superior technology is available.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said the police would go through the judgment and consult lawyers. “The verdict is, however, final,” he said.
Inspector general Deven Bharti, who was part of the investigating team as additional commissioner of the crime branch, said “legally nothing can be done now”. “The major part of the 26/11 conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan... So, it is difficult for us to prove their involvement,” he said. “We gathered as much evidence as we could. Had we been given access to the accused in Pakistan or their investigations, things would have been different.”
Advocate Ejaz Naqvi, representing Ansari and Ahmed, said he would file a compensation suit against the crime branch for foisting a false case against his clients.
Ansari’s wife Yasmin said he had been framed. “Finally, the truth is out. The Supreme Court has held my husband not guilty,” she said.
But neither Ansari nor Ahmed can walk out free at the moment. Both have cases pending against them in connection with the attack on a CRPF camp. Ansari has cheating and forgery cases against him as well. And Ahmed is the main accused in Bangalore’s IISC attack.