Kasab will hang! HC upholds lower court order
The Bombay high court on Monday upheld the death sentence to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead.
"Aapko saza-e-maut yeh adalat barkarar karti hai. Aap Supreme Court mein appeal zari kar sakte hain (Your death sentence is upheld. You can appeal before the Supreme Court," Justice Desai told a bearded Kasab, clad in a spotless white kurta and sporting a grin, through video conferencing.
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Additional Inputs: PTI
Photographs: Kind Courtesy: Sebastian D'Souza/Mumbai Mirror
'Harsh penalty of death is required in some cases, especially this one'
The court upheld Kasab's conviction on all charges including multiple murders, conspiracy and waging war against the nation.
The confirmation comes nine months after the lone 26/11 terrorist captured alive was ordered to be sent to the gallows by the trial court on May 6, last year.
The court, however, dismissed the Maharashtra government's petition against the acquittal of two Indians Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, accused of aiding the commission of the crime.
"We are with the trial court's observation that there is no corroboration of evidence to prove involvement of Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case," the judgment said.
"Kasab has never shown any remorse after his arrest and we have observed that even on video conference he has not shown any signs of regret," Justice Desai said reading out the judgement for the bench.
"Harsh penalty of death is required in some cases, especially this one, and the court would be sending a wrong signal to society if any penalty less than death is given," the court said.
'We would be failing in our duty if we did not acknowledge sacrifices'
Recalling the sacrifices made by the men in uniform during the attacks, the court said, "Several brave policemen were killed in the attacks and we would be failing in our duty if we did not acknowledge their sacrifice."
Kasab, an LeT operative, has been confined to jail since his arrest on November 26, 2008, when he was caught alive at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai.
Nine others, who had come with Kasab, from Karachi by sea, were gunned down by security forces at terror sites -- Hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident and Jewish outreach centre Nariman House in South Mumbai, but not before leaving 166 dead and many more injured.
During arguments in the High Court, Kasab pleaded that his trial was "unfair" and demanded a fresh trial contending that material evidence was suppressed and norms were not followed to defend him. However, his plea was rejected.
The prosecution relied on Kasab's confession
Government Counsel Ujjwal Nikam placed photographs and CCTV footages showing Kasab in terror acts. However, Kasab argued that they had been morphed and his face was not clear.
The prosecution also relied on Kasab's confession before a Magistrate accepting his role in 26/11 attack and his guilt plea before trial court admitting the crime.
Speaking to the media after the judgment was pronounced, Kasab's counsel Farhana Shah said she would inform the convicted terrorist about the judgment and that he still has the legal option available to move the apex court.
He still has the opportunity to move the Supreme Court
"The decision to appeal against Monday's judgment has to be taken by Kasab, but I will definitely inform him that this is not the ultimate and he still has the opportunity to move the Supreme Court to seek setting aside of the high court verdict," Shah said.
Asked if Kasab was repenting what he did, she said, "He must be, but I have not yet met him (after the judgment)."
Shah said she did not spot the Pakistani terrorist smiling after the judgment was pronounced.
Describing the judgment as historic, a jubilant Nikam flashed a victory sign as he came out of the courtroom.
'In the end I brought you to the gallows'
"Badle Tumne rang bahut, bahut badle nakab; Fansi tak hamne tumhe la hi diya Kasab. (You changed colours, you changed masks; but in the end I brought you to the gallows)," Nikam said, apparently reciting a self-penned poem.
Nikam said he would recommend to the state government to move the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Ansari and Ahmed.
"Unlike the trial court, the HC has not disbelieved the contention of the prosecution with regard to Ansari and Ahmed's involvement in the conspiracy, but upheld their acquittal for lack of corroborative evidence," he said.