Kasab confession comes after contradictory statements

In his deposition in May, Kasab, who last week turned 22, rubbished the charges against him. "Yeh sab galat hai. Mujhe kabool nahin hai" ( This is all wrong. These charges are not acceptable).

"Sir, mujhe mera gunah kabool hai" (I plead guilty to my crime), he told the special court in Arthur Road jail on Monday in a complete reversal of his earlier deposition.

His sudden confession came on the 65th day of the trial that began after a 11,000-page chargesheet was filed in the case against him in February this year.

Kasab's images were picked up last November by close circuit television during his attacks at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus alongwith another terrorist Ismail Khan.

The duo moved on to attack a police vehicle, a white Toyota Qualis, at Cama Hospital. In the vehicle were Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and additional commissioner of Mumbai police Ashok Kamte).

After killing them and taking two constables hostage, Kasab and Khan drove towards Metro cinema. At Chowpatty, they confronted a barricade and there was exchange of fire when they tried to reverse. Khan was killed and Kasab taken alive.

In April, Kasab had sought retraction of his earlier confession to the November 26 attacks saying it was taken under "duress" by the  investigators. The terror strikes had left 183 dead including 22 foreigners.

"Kasab is a good actor," Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said adding he was taken by surprise when the terrorist abruptly decided to confess to the crime.

Attempting everything under the law to wriggle out of the charges or delay the trial, Kasab initially claimed that he is a juvenile and said the special court has no jurisdiction to take up his case.

Documents were produced by the prosecution to state that Kasab was born on July 13, 1987.

Kasab maintained for long that he was not a Pakistani but it turned out that he hailed from Faridkot village in the Okara district of Pakistan's Punjab province.

His father makes a living selling dahi puri while his elder brother Afzal works as a labourer in Lahore. His elder sister, Rukaiyya Husain is married in the village. A younger sister, Suraiyya and a 11-year-old brother, Munir, live with the parents.

Starting his life as a petty criminal, Kasab was soon inducted into the Lashkar-e-Taiba getting his training from the outfit's base camp, Markaz Taiba.

During the court hearings, Kasab, said to be fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu and now also understands Marathi, has also pleaded for a Pakistani lawyer to fight his case, a move seen to delay the proceedings.

At one stage, Kasab requested for an envelope, saying he wanted to write a letter to Saudi Arabia but had replied in the negative on being asked whether he had any relatives in that country.

During a hearing in May, the judge reprimanded Kasab for smiling when a witness was narrating how assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale, who had been taken hostage by the duo, was killed. "I didn't have anything in mind," he had replied showing no signs of remorse.

At another point, he told the court "I am bored in jail. I need some books to read".
From the jail, Kasab wrote a three-page letter to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi stating that as a citizen he was entitled to seek legal help from his own country to fight his case in Indian courts.

Kasab's admission to his own origin and that of his fellow terrorists came as a major embarrassment to Pakistan which had dithered about their nationality and refused to accept that the Mukmbai attacks were plotted and launched from Pakistani soil.

Seeking a lenient approach from the court, Kasab had also sought to denigrate LeT. "Bahak gaya tha mein, LeT ke drindon ne mujhe phansa diya" (I was misled, LeT's devils trapped me).

"Pure Pakistan ko badnaam kiya hai, Khuda mujhe maaf karein" (I have tarnished Pakistan's image, may God forgive me).

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