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All eyes on judge Tahiliyani

Last updated on: May 06, 2010 11:37 IST

A Mumbai Special Court, which conducted the trial of 26/11 terror strikes, is all set to announce the quantum of punishment on Thursday. The entire country is waiting for Judge M L Tahiliyani to pronounce punishment for lone surviving Pakistani terrorist--Ajmal Amir Kasab.

On Tuesday, the court heard the arguments on from both prosecution and defence sides. While the prosecution wants death sentence for Kasab, his lawyer has appealed for leniency on the grounds that he''s just 22 years old.Kasab has turned into India's one of the costliest prisoner. Till now, the Government has spent over 35 crore rupees for his safety. If sentenced to death, Kasab will be the 52nd person on death row in India.

On Tuesday, the public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, attacked Kasab for two hours, describing him as "worse than a wild beast... Kasab is a killing machine... and the orders for this machine came from Pakistan." Kasab kept his head bowed throughout Nikam's arguments. On Monday, Kasab was found guilty on more than 80 of the 86 charges brought against him for planning and executing the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Nikam has laid out eight arguments on why Kasab deserves to be hanged, among them, that the 26/11 attacks was meticulously planned and that policemen and defenceless civilians were "mercilessly butchered." He also argued that Kasab wanted to inspire others to take part in fidayeen or suicide attacks.

As an example of why Kasab should get the death penalty, Nikam said Kasab had expressed disappointment that he landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after rush hour on 26/11/2008. Kasab had anticipated a busier station, based on CDs he had been shown of CST before the attack, Nikam said. He also said that in his confession to the Mumbai police, Kasab said that he was upset that he could not kill more people at the station. At CST, Kasab killed close to 60 people in an hour with his partner, Abu Ismail.

Meanwhile Kasab''s lawyer, K P Pawar, has pleaded with the court to consider a life sentence instead. Kasab was only 21 when he participated in the attack against Mumbai, and he acted under the influence of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he said. Even if judge Tahaliyani decides on the death penalty, it will not be implemented immediately.Kasab has the option of appealing to higher courts, and can also file a mercy petition for the consideration of the President.

Source: ANI