Judgement Day: SC to decide Kasab's fate today

Judgement Day: SC to decide Kasab's fate today

Judgement Day: SC to decide Kasab's fate today

The Supreme Court on Wednesday is likely to pronounce verdict on a petition filed by the 2008 Mumbai terror attack convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab challenging the Bombay High Court judgment upholding his death sentence.

The high court upheld Kasab's death penalty Feb 21, 2011.

Kasab was sent to the gallows by a Mumbai trial court May 6, 2010. Besides other charges, he was convicted for waging war against the nation.

An apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice C.K. Prasad reserved the verdict on the conclusion of arguments that spread over nearly three months, starting Jan 31.

In the Mumbai terror attack, Kasab was one of 10 Pakistanis who illegally sailed into India and launched the Nov 26-29 mayhem that killed 166 people, including many foreigners.

The court will also pronounce its verdict on Maharashtra government's appeal challenging the acquittal of Fahim Harshad Mohammad Yusuf Ansari and Sabauddin Shaikh. They were accused of providing topographical details to the Mumbai terror attack accused.

Kasab contended that he was denied a fair trial as he was not provided legal assistance as mandated under in terms of Article 22 (1) of the Indian constitution.

Senior counsel and amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran, who appeared for Kasab, told the court that "denial of right to counsel at the earliest stage and denial of right to protection against self-incrimination" together vitiated a fair trial.

Defending Kasab, Ramachandran told the court that "if he had the lawyers' assistance right from the beginning, one wonders if a confessional statement would have been made".

Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for the Maharashtra government, said  that "legal aid was provided to him right from the word go".

The 26/11 attack was an "attempt to wage war against the country and its people and not just the government", he said.

Kasab and his nine associates who had sailed from Karachi reached Mumbai after they hijacked private Indian ship M.B. Kuber and killed its navigator Amar Chand Solanki.