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Kasab is not a minor: Special Court

May 02, 2009 18:55 IST
Observing that Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, prime accused in the Mumbai terror attack, is not a minor, a Special Court on Saturday ruled that it had the jurisdiction to try him.

Judge M L Tahiliyani accepted the evidence tendered by jail Superintendent Swati Sathe and Dr V Ramamurthy that Kasab had informed them that his age was 21 years. The Judge also took into consideration Ossification (bone) and dental test reports which indicated that he was above 20 years of age.

"I am made to believe by the witnesses examined that the accused was 21 years at the time of attack and his date of birth is September 13, as mentioned by him to jailer of Arthur Road and the doctor who examined him," the Judge said.

In a related development, the court rejected Kasab's plea for X-ray plates to seek medical opinion regarding his age. The Judge observed that this opportunity was given to his lawyer Abbas Kazmi earlier, but he did not opt for it.

Judge M L Tahiliyani had ordered an inquiry to determine Kasab's age following a prosecution plea in this regard. The accused had claimed that he was less than 18 years and therefore could not be tried by the special court.

The inquiry concluded with Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitting forensic and substantive evidence to prove that Kasab was not a minor. The testimony of five witnesses, Ossification (bone) test and dental checks have revealed that he was above 20 years of age, the court observed.

The witnesses -- Jail Superintendent and the doctor who treated Kasab for bullet injuries sustained in a police encounter on the day of terror -- have deposed saying the accused had himself told them that he was 21.

The duo even showed the court the registers wherein they had recorded Kasab's age as 21 years. However, Kasab denied telling Jail Superintendent and the doctor that he was 21.

His lawyer Abbas Kazmi has also questioned forensic tests saying that these cannot be regarded as authentic and accurate. "As regards Kasab's age the judge referred to Supreme Court verdicts. There can never be a straight jacket formula to determine age," Judge Tahiliyani said.

The court has considered all evidence brought before it and also the expert opinions.

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