South Asia

Judge in Mumbai attacks case criticises prosecution

An Indian soldier surveys the Taj Mahal Palace Tower Hotel in Mumbai, during the attack in November
Image caption The attackers killed more than 160 people

Two Indians cleared of assisting the gunmen who carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks were acquitted because of gaps in the prosecution case, the trial judge has said.

Judge ML Tahiliyani said some of the evidence had been "tainted".

The only gunman captured alive was sentenced to death earlier this month.

The two Indians, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, were cleared of providing maps and other help to the Pakistani gunmen.

The 10 attackers, nine of whom died, killed 166 people over three days.

'Loose ends'

In his 1,588-page judgement, Judge Tahiliyani accused the prosecution of failing to corroborate testimony from one a witness who was supposed to have seen Mr Ansari pass something to Mr Ahmed in a Nepalese hotel room.

"Apart from the failure... to produce documentary evidence of his journey to Nepal and his stay in the hotel, the investigating agency has also not made any attempt to collect the said evidence."

Judge Tahiliyani also criticised prosecutors for failing to produce another witness in court, calling their explanation "feeble".

The judge said there would have been "strong chances of a miscarriage of justice" if he had accepted the evidence in question.

Given the "many loose ends and scope for doubting each and every piece of evidence", the two Indians had been acquitted of all charges, the judge said.