Crime Branch officials who are investigating the 26/11 case believe that though their investigative and evidence-gathering efforts succeeded in bringing about a death sentence for Ajmal Qasab, they may not be able to wrest a similar sentence for his mentor and 26/11 handler Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.
A native of Beed district of Maharashtra, Jundal is one of the key accused in the 26/11 case. Investigations have revealed that Jundal trained and imparted instructions to the 10 terrorists who attacked the city on November 26, 2008, including Qasab. He had also taught Qasab and his colleagues to speak Hindi, before they were sent to Mumbai to lay siege on the city.
Officers of the Crime Branch have alleged that he had also planned the logistics of the attack. For the entire duration of the attack, he was holed up in a control room set up specifically for the attack in Karachi, Pakistan. He issued instructions from there, and monitored the terrorist operation.
A Crime Branch officer said, “The only concrete evidence against Jundal obtained so far is the conversation intercepted during the terror strike, wherein Jundal is heard giving instructions to Qasab and his colleagues. Forensic reports on the voice samples are still pending. Even if it nails Jundal in the 26/11 case, it will be very difficult for us to procure a death sentence on the basis of that evidence alone.”
The other piece of damning evidence against Jundal came from none other than Qasab – when the latter was brought in front of Jundal at Arthur Road prison, he identified the man as his mentor.
“This is the only body of evidence against Jundal. Based on the present situation, it will be impossible to get a death sentence for him,” said a Crime Branch official. Addressing the media, Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy said, “I would like to see Abu Jundal hanged like Qasab.”
On October, the Crime Branch filed a 14,676-page supplementary chargesheet against Jundal before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate court. While the magistrate court is yet to commit the case for trial, the authorities are contemplating whether to conduct the trial against Jundal in the court constructed within Arthur Road jail premises for Qasab.