Mumbai: Mumbai police's elite crime branch was again left red-faced after Bombay High Court dismissed its appeal challenging the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed Shaikh in the 26/11 attacks case as co-conspirators.

The division bench again pointed out in its judgment that the map allegedly handed over by Ansari, who is already an accused in a case of shooting down CRPF personnel at Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, to a person in Nepal could not be corroborated.

Prosecution had claimed that the same map was recovered from the pocket of Abu Ismail, a terrorist shot dead during an encounter that led to arrest of Ajmal Kasab.

The prosecution in its appeal had claimed that the sessions judge had erred in making this opinion. However, the High Court in its ruling said "We had a look at the cargo pant, particularly the pocket from where the map was recovered."

On the absence of wrinkles on the map, the high court said "It also cannot be disputed that deceased Abu Ismail played a major role in the attack. He threw hand grenades. He fired with AK-47 rifles.

Former Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hasan Gafoor and his deputy incharge of the Crime Branch, Joint Commissioner Rakesh Maria had repeatedly claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had carried out reconnaissance of various targets attacked by Lashker terrorists on November 26, 2008.

The trial judge had dismissed the evidence against them as "unreliable". "Prosecution evidence against Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed is unreliable...evidence falls short and cannot be accepted," the judge had observed in his ruling last year on May three.

The case against these two was considerably weakened by the reported confession in an American court by US terror accused David Headley that he had reconnoitered the targets for the Lashkar attackers.

(With Agency inputs)