Mumbai: A Pakistani is one of India’s most protected men: he has round-the-clock guards; his food is tasted for poisoning and only four police officers are allowed access to his room.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive for the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, has been kept inside a highly secure police lock-up. Only four police officers are allowed access to Kasab’s lock-up.
Irrespective of the rank of the officer interrogating Kasab, his cell phone has to be deposited outside the lock-up. The rules apply to visiting officials from Indian investigating agencies, USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation and UK’s Scotland Yard.
The precautions taken for Kasab’s food are equally strict. Every day a different team of officers is handpicked at random to arrange meals for Kasab. Each meal comes from different suburbs of the city.
Kasab, who is in police custody till January 19, is handcuffed round the clock and he is constantly monitored with security cameras fixed in the lock-up. The strict and elaborate security works fine in the lock-up, but Kasab has to be moved to a jail.
“Trial cannot take place during police custody. Judicial custody has to be granted and thereafter the accused has to be produced from judicial custody, because only after that the police file the charge-sheet," says advocate Farhana Shah.
Keeping with the law, Kasab will be moved to the Arthur Road Jail but here too the authorities are taking no chances. A special court will be set up inside the jail to try Kasab.
Unlike an open court, entry to this special court in the jail will be strict. The marathon trial of the scores of accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case was held in Arthur Road Jail and the system worked well.
Several members of the Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan gangs are lodged in the jail, but the security for Kasab would be unprecedented. Kasab has already spent two nights in the jail—last month he was kept there for an identification parade.
Kasab will be kept in an anda cell, an egg-shaped cell which is so shaped that the prisoner cannot see any other accused lodged in the adjoining cell.
Actor Sanjay Dutt, when he was under arrest in connection with the 1993 blasts, was kept in an anda cell. There are a total of 16 anda cell barracks in the Arthur Road Jail and each barrack' has just one bathroom.
For the Mumbai police, the task of keeping Kasab secure is as much a task as investigating the Mumbai terror attack.
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