Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Mumbai suspect remanded by court

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab faces a string of charges

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole known surviving suspect from the deadly attacks on Mumbai, has been remanded in custody for a further two weeks.

A magistrate extended custody until 24 December, police said.

The suspect faces a number of charges including murder, attempted murder, waging war against a country and criminal conspiracy.

The multiple attacks on the city on 26 November left at least 173 people dead, including nine of the 10 gunmen.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, who has previously been identified also as Mohammed Ajmal Qasab and Azam Amir Qasab among others, had been due to appear in court, but because of security concerns magistrates and court officials visited him at the Mumbai police crime branch office.

The finger of suspicion unmistakeably points to the territory of our neighbour Pakistan
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram

"He has been remanded to police custody until 24 December. This custody has been taken in the case of killing of three police officers, " Mumbai crime branch chief Rakesh Maria told the BBC.

"A magistrate came to the crime branch in the morning and completed the formalities."

Meanwhile, India has announced a major overhaul of its security and intelligence services.

Newly-appointed Interior Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the measures would include reinforcing coastal security, creating a new national investigative agency, improving police training and strengthening anti-terror laws.

"We cannot go back to business as normal," he told parliament.

He also reiterated the Indian government's view that "the finger of suspicion unmistakeably points to the territory of our neighbour Pakistan" as the source of the attacks.

Evidence gathered from the bodies of the dead gunmen and the boats they travelled to Mumbai indicated they were Pakistani nationals belonging to the militant group the Lashkar-e-Taiba, he said.

'Sustained interrogation'

Police say Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab and his accomplice Ismal Khan opened fire indiscriminately at the CST station and two other places, killing more than 50 people, including three top police officers.

Named militants. Mumbai police website
Nasir, alias Abu Umar (Nariman House)
Abu Ali (Taj Palace)
Soheb (Taj Palace)
Fahad Ullah (Oberoi)
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab(survived)
Bada Abdul Rehaman (above left, Taj Palace)
Abdul Rehaman Chota (above right, Oberoi)
Ismal Khan (CST station)
Babar Imaran (Nariman House)
Nazir, alias Abu Omer (Taj Palace)

Ismal Khan was shot dead but Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab was taken alive and has been undergoing "sustained interrogation" since then.

He was remanded into custody on 27 November, a day after his arrest. Under Indian law, police can ask for another 14 days of custody for further interrogation.

They are required to file a charge sheet within 90 days of arrest, but as there are 12 different offences, it could take longer.

It is not clear whether Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab has any legal representation.

There have been reports that a prominent group of Indian lawyers is refusing to defend him.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate Court's Bar Association reportedly passed a resolution over the weekend saying its 1,000 members should not do so.

However, all accused are entitled to legal aid and this should be provided when the accused asks for it before the court.

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