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India Files First Charges Over Mumbai Attacks

Victims of the coordinated November attacks in a Mumbai hospital
MUMBAI -- Indian police have charged a man they say is the lone surviving gunman in last year's Mumbai attacks with "waging war" against India, drawing up the first formal charges in the case, a government lawyer said.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters that the charge sheet named 37 other people, including Indians and Pakistanis, with planning and abetting the attacks that killed 179 people and revived tensions between India and Pakistan.

Nikam said Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the surviving gunman, was not produced in the court because of security concerns. The next hearing of the case is March 9.

"The charge sheet has 35 wanted [accused] and three accused," Nikam said, waving a copy of the voluminous charge sheet which had pictures of the attack on its covers. He said he would try to wind up the trial in three to six months.

The charge sheet, which runs into some 11,000 pages, contains accounts of more than 100 witnesses as well as other evidence provided by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which helped Indian police with the probe.

If found guilty, Kasab and those charged with waging war with India could face the gallows.

Police said one day earlier, on February 24, that evidence included transcripts of phone calls between the attackers and their "handlers" in Pakistan, video footage from attack sites, and what police say is Kasab's confession.

The charges of "waging war" with India mean there is almost no chance Kasab would be handed over to Pakistan for trial.