Chameleon turned prized catch

Kasab’s interrogation not only proved that Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba was behind the attacks, but also that some officers of Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, were involved in the planning and execution of the attacks.

Interrogators found Kasab’s background was ideal for Hafeez Saeed’s recruitment needs. A primary school dropout, and daily wage labourer from Faridkot village in Punjab province’s backward Okara district, Kasab tried to portray himself as a victim of poverty.

An injured Kasab described how he joined the LeT in December 2007 and given training in the jungles of Chelabandi Pahadi in Muzaffarabad. The image of a vulnerable misguided young man fell away as this was a mission only hardened commando operatives could undertake.

Intense questioning gradually yielded results. On February 21, 2009, Kasab chose to voluntarily confess before a magistrate. The government moved quickly. M L Tahiliyani was named special judge for the trial. The Arthur Road jail was selected, prepared and fortified for the trial.

Once ready, the charge sheet was 11,280 pages long, containing over 2,000 witness statements. A day later, Ujjwal Nikam was appointed as the special public prosecutor. Kasab was named in 312 counts, one of the highest numbers of charges ever. So careful were the prosecutors that he was even booked for entering a railway platform without ticket.

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