I plead guilty: Kasab

Terrorist wants special court to pronounce sentence and end trial

AJMAL KASAB: Now that Pakistan has accepted my nationality, I am confessing. On being asked by the judge why he was  confessing now

The 22-year-old Kasab also specifically named Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)'s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as the mastermind behind the attacks, and Abu Hamza as one of his Pakistani handlers, just two days after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed a chargesheet against five LeT terrorists at Rawalpindi for Mumbai attacks.

Kasab’s move to confess and his narration of the entire sequence of events that led to the 26/11 terror strikes came as a huge shock to those attending the trial, including his lawyers, while the prosecution hailed it as its triumph.

During the post-lunch session, the court asked him why he was confessing, and Kasab's explaination was that he was doing so because Pakistan has admitted his nationality.
He denied that he was under any pressure to confess and said he was doing so on his own volition.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had said so during the recess. “There is a possibility that after (Pakistan’s)FIA filed a chargesheet in (Rawalpindi) court naming Kasab as its national having participated in Mumbai massacre, the last ray of hope was diminished. That might have prompted him to confess,” Nikam said.

The court will now decide whether to accept Kasab’s confession and pronounce verdict and sentence, or continue with the trial.

Confession allowed

“Mujhe gunah kabul karna hain,” Kasab earlier told the court, as it was preparing to hear the 135th prosecution witness at the beginning of the day’s proceedings, a police constable Arun Jadhav, who was in the same Toyota Qualis in which slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare and two top police officers were shot dead in the Cama Hospital lane by him and his accomplice Abu Ismail.

Nikam took objection to Kasab confessing his crime midway through the trial, especially when almost all witnesses in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) terror attack case have deposed.

Although Kasab is facing charges for participating in criminal conspiracy to launch terror attacks which left at least 163 people dead, he was physically involved in bombing a taxi, firing at the CST and Cama Hospital, killing of three top cops, hijacking of the Qualis and later a Skoda sedan and killing of PSI Tukaram Ombale at Girgaum Chowpatti.

In that sense, Kasab’s confession has come at the end of all depositions in the CST massacre case, which firmly established his participation in terror activity beyond any doubt.

Designated judge M L Tahilyani turned down the prosecution’s objection and allowed Kasab to confess citing legal provisions. The accused then went to the witness box and unfolded the entire sequence of event, including his own involvement and that of LeT’s bosses, in the most heinous crime.

A resident of Faridkot in Pakistan, Kasab had at the beginning of the trial retracted his confession given before a magistrate. He had also pleaded that he was a juvenile below 18 years and should be tried in a juvenile court.

During the ongoing trial, Kasab has shown little remorse or emotions except smiling on a few occaions. He has been speaking to his lawyer, who is his only source of information of about what is happening in Pakistan.

His confession on Monday, therefore, came as a big surprise for everybody. He spoke in a mixure of Hindi and Urdu, his mother tongue, and went on for almost two hours till the lunch break.

“Mujhe mera gunha kabool hai (I plead guilty to my crime),” Kasab said, as he was allowed by the court to confess. Kasab told the court how he and nine other terrorists were hired by the LeT, how Lakhvi and other LeT operatives helped them travel from Karachi to Mumbai in a boat, how they hijacked an Indian trawler Kuber off Gujarat coast and killed its crew, how they sailed to Mumbai on 26/11 late evening, how they formed four separate teams and dispersed, how he and Abu Ismail reached CST.

They then opened fire on innocent people, how they reached Cama, tried to take hostages, kill three top officers, hijack their jeep and later a Skoda vehicle and later got caught at Girgaum chowpatti.

All these details are now quite wellknown and the only difference was that they came from the horse's mouth, in front of mediapersons and the judge.

It is now for the court to decide whether to accept the confession as valid or whether it was given by Kasab under duress. The court will have to find out the state of mind of Kasab, as his lawyer Abbas Kazmi might raise points like Kasab having lost his mental balance and so on.

If the court decides to accept Kasab's confession, then it can straightaway move to pronounce verdict and sentence, closing the trial. Otherwise, it can continue with the ongoing deposition of prosecution witnesses.




 

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