Islamic terrorist Kasab found guilty of 26/11 Mumbai attack, killing 166 people
Posted by jagoindia on May 3, 2010
Kasab faces possible death for ‘waging war’ on India
Menaka Rao & Mayura Janwalkar / DNA Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Mumbai: Nearly a year-and-a-half after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, first additional principal judge ML Tahaliyani on Monday held the only surviving Pakistani gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, 22, guilty of nearly all charges framed against him. These include the charges of waging war against the nation and the cold-blooded murder of 166 people.
The two other accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, who were accused of helping the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in plotting the terror attack, were acquitted for want of reliable evidence.
In the fastest-ever verdict in a terror case, the judge delivered a 1,522-page judgment after a year-long trial in which 654 witnesses were examined. Except for minor charges pertaining to forgery and a few others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Kasab was convicted on almost all the 86 charges framed against him.
Dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, Kasab cried out when the judge explained the verdict to him in Hindi. Kasab couldn’t meet the judge in the eye when he was talking to him. “Maine tumko doshi paya hai kyun ki aap ne desh ke khilaf jung kiya, aur 166 logon ki jaan li apne doston se milkar (I hold you guilty of waging war against the nation along with your associates and killing 166 people),” the judge told Kasab, a native of Faridkot village in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
The judge held that Kasab and Abu Ismail, his slain accomplice, shot at three senior police officers — Ashok Kamte, Hemant Karkare and Vijay Salaskar — and two constables in the Rang Bhavan lane. While the bullet found in Kamte’s body came from Ismail’s gun, there is no definite opinion by ballistic experts on the bullets found on Karkare and Salaskar.
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on Tuesday. Kasab faces a possible death sentence, with a life sentence being the minimum expected.
The judge held that Kasab was part of the terrorist LeT outfit. He said that the 20 other wanted accused, including LeT leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were involved in the training of the 10 gunmen who attacked Mumbai. He held Saeed and Lakhvi guilty of conspiracy.
The clinching evidence against Kasab came in the form of the ballistic expert’s testimony stating that bullets emerging from Kasab’s AK-47 were found lodged inside the bodies of six people, including assistant police inspector Tukaram Omble and constable Ambadas Pawar.
Kasab was held directly guilty for the murders of these six people and also the captain of motorboat MV Kuber, Amarchand Solanki. Kuber was hijacked by the gunmen on the high seas near Gujarat before they arrived in Mumbai.
The discovery of three global positioning system (GPS) devices inside the Kuber, which were later sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was accepted by the court. An FBI officer who deposed before the court had said that the waypoints between Karachi and Mumbai were plotted on one GPS device.
The court also held that the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan considering the evidence of Pakistan-made articles found inside Kuber, and the GPS devices.
Apart from being held guilty for the murders, Kasab has also been convicted for abetting the murders of those who lost their lives in Leopold Cafe, the Taj and Trident hotels, and Nariman House, along with his deceased accomplices.
The court relied heavily on Kasab’s confession before additional metropolitan magistrate RV Sawant-Waghule in February, 2007. While the law is very clear that the retracted confession can be relied upon, the law of prudence states that the court must look for corroboration. “His retraction was a bald retraction for the sake of retraction,” said the judge.
Kasab had also been found guilty of murdering people with common intention along with his slain accomplice, Abu Ismail. The court accepted the evidence of eye-witnesses, including a 10-year old girl, Devika Rotawan. The court appreciated the evidence of press photographers Sebastian D’Souza and Shriram Vernekar and mentioned that it was “blemish-free”.
Judge Tahaliyani also accepted the witnesses who saw Kasab and Ismail shooting people at sight outside and inside Cama Hospital. “The recovery of empties and live cartridges outside the hospital tallied with the weapons of accused 1 (Kasab) and deceased accused 1 (Ismail),” said the judge.
Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said he was happy that Kasab was convicted and unhappy that Ansari and Ahmed were set free. “We will appeal against the acquittal,” he said. Both were “passive actors” in the conspiracy and “we had placed enough circumstantial evidence which the court should have considered”, Nikam said.