An eye witness in 26/11 terror attacks case identified four terrorists, who held some people hostages at the Taj Mahal Hotel [ Images ], from close circuit television footage screened at the trial court.
The footage, which clearly showed the terrorists holding guests and hotel staff as hostages at gun point, was captured on CCTV cameras installed at each floor of the hotel. Sunil Jadhav, a bell boy at the Taj, told special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that he too was taken hostage along with other hotel staff and a guest (a banker whose name has been withheld by the court).
The attackers were clearly seen moving about with guns, ordering hostages to lie down on the floor and kicking them. All the four terrorists were killed by National Security Guard commandos in the 59-hour long pitched battle on November 26. 36 guests, including nine foreign nationals were killed by the terrorists at the Taj.
The slain terrorists were Abdul Rehman Bada, Abu Ali, Abu Shoib and Abu Umar. The terrorists were seeking instructions from some persons on cell phones, Jadhav said. After taking people hostages they told their handlers "Panch Murge pakde hain. Ek ganja hai aur ek mota (We have five targets. One of them is bald while the other is fat), he said.
Jadhav told Nikam that he was in a service elevator with a guest's luggage when he heard shots fired on the fifth floor on the day of the attacks. He went to the sixth floor and met a housekeeping boy there. Both of them opened Room no 638 with a master key to hide themselves. "After some time the door broke open and two persons holding guns entered. We were scared. At gun point, they tied our hands and ordered us to come out of the room. We were asked to lie down with our faces to the ground", the witness said.
Jadhav said they were beaten up and their mobile phones and wallets were taken away. They were then taken to Room 632 where they saw two other hotel staff being held hostage. They too were lying on the bed with their hands tied. Finally, the witness said, they were brought down to Room 520 where a guest was also held hostage. The terrorists then left the room and did not return. They (hostages) escaped from the window using curtains as rope, Jadhav said.
Another witness, Wasim Ahmed Bashir, said he had seen two persons, (Abu Shoib and Abu Umar), getting out of a taxi at Leopold Cafe [ Images ], near the Taj. One of them gave a 100 rupee note to the driver who had demanded the fare, amounting to Rs 13, the passenger had asked him to keep the change. The witness said he hired the same taxi and got down at his destination at Mazgaon. Two Muslim women had hailed the cab from Mazgaon. The next day,Bashir learnt that two women were killed in a taxi blast and he went to Byculla police station to record his statement.