26/11 accused Voice sample matches that of handler

Islamabad, Aug 13: A prosecution witness today told the Pakistani court conducting the trial of seven suspects in the Mumbai attack case that the voice of one of the accused had matched with that of a handler who directed the terrorists involved in the assault.

Deposing before anti-terrorism court Judge Shahid Rafique, Inspector Nisar Ahmed Jadoon of the Federal Investigation Agency also provided details of raids conducted on Lashkar-e-Taiba camps in Karachi where the attackers had trained before the attacks in November 2008.

Jadoon said the voice of an accused had been matched with that of a handler who directed the 10 attackers in Mumbai from a camp in Pakistan.

Defence lawyer Khwaja Sultan, however, questioned how the prosecution had matched the voice as the FIA did not have voice samples of the seven suspects.

Pakistani laws do not allow authorities to obtain voice samples without the permission of suspects. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has contended that this is the reason why Pakistan has been unable to hand over voice samples of suspects sought by India.

During his deposition, Jadoon told the judge that the banned LeT had set up three training camps in Karachi that were raided by an FIA team after the Mumbai attacks.

None of the accused was present in the camps at the time of the raids, Jadoon was quoted as saying by sources.

No incriminating evidence, including weapons, bomb-making materials or documents, was found in the camps, Jadoon told the court. 

During questioning by defence lawyers, Jadoon said some equipment for physical fitness had been found at the camps.

Defence lawyer Sultan then contended that the FIA was trying to pass off private residences with physical fitness gear as training camps.

The prosecution told the judge it wanted to present five more witnesses and the judge said this could be done at the next hearing on August 27.

Earlier reports have said the prosecution witnesses include forensic experts and FIA officials who probed the Mumbai incident.

In a related development, defence lawyers today decided not to press the court to act on their application for contempt of court proceedings against Interior Minister Rehman Malik for announcing that a judicial commission would visit India in connection with the Mumbai attacks even before the court had decided the matter.

Defence lawyer Khwaja Sultan said that taking up the matter against Malik could delay proceedings in the case in the anti-terrorism court.

“We did not press the judge for contempt of court proceedings against the Interior Minister as we have already faced a considerable delay in the proceedings,” Sultan told media after the hearing held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

The judge, however, directed prosecutors to file the minister’s response to a notice issued to him at the last hearing on August 10.

The notice was issued after defence lawyers submitted a petition that contended Malik had committed contempt of court by stating in a media interview last month that the Pakistani commission would go to India within days, even though the court had not decided on the formation of the commission.

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