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26/11: Hijacked trawler's owner testifies in court

Source: PTI
June 08, 2009 19:43 IST
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Marine vessel 'Kuber', which was hijacked by terrorists to reach Mumbai on November 26 last year to launch their terror strikes, will resume fishing activities on Diwali this year, its owner Vinod Masani told a special court in Mumbai on Monday.

"I and my family were so terribly upset over the hijacking of Kuber by terrorists that we decided to withdraw it from fishing until Diwali," Masani said.

Presently, Kuber is anchored at Porbunder in Gujarat. The boat was seized by the police soon after the attacks but was returned to its owner after he furnished a bond.

To a question by Kasab's defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi, Masani said, "My family owns six boats, two of them were seized by Pakistani police some time back when the vessels had gone for fishing. One of them has since returned while the other is still with Pakistan authorities".

Asked why he had not informed the Porbunder authorities that Kuber was 'missing' after it did not return from its fishing expedition, Masani said it is quite normal for fishing boats to return late if they were caught up in storms in high seas.

"Both Kuber and Maa had gone for fishing together but they got separated after facing a storm in mid-sea. While Maa returned, Kuber did not. We decided to wait for some time before reporting it to the authorities," he told special judge M L Tahaliyani.

Masani was shown articles, including ropes, jackets and blankets recovered from the vessel.

After looking at them, he told Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that these articles did not belong to him or his staff.

Asked on what basis he was saying this, Masani replied, "Because I had given some articles to my crew and I know that the articles shown to me in the court are not mine".

Police claimed to have seized certain articles from Kuber, saying these belonged to terrorists. The articles were shown to Masani to prove the police case -- that they were
brought from Pakistan by the terrorists.

Masani said he had given a mobile phone and a walkie talkie to the navigator of Kuber Amarsinh Solanki but these were not found in the boat.

Four crewmen of the vessel were captured by the terrorists and transferred to another boat Al-Husseni. All four have been reported missing since November 22, when Kuber was hijacked.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed are facing trial in a special court in connection with the Mumbai terror strikes.

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