A special court has held Ajmal Kasab - the lone surviving terrorist from
the 26/11 Mumbai attacks - guilty of murder, conspiracy and of waging
war against the nation. The verdict comes 17 months after Kasab and nine
other terrorists from Pakistan unleashed 62 hours of death and
destruction on the country's financial capital on November 26, 2008. The
quantum of sentence will be announced later.
Kasab, a native of Faridkot, Punjab,
was charged with killing 166 people, including 23 foreigners, and
injuring 304 others along with his compatriots and at the instance of
the LeT. The maximum fatalities were at the CST station. Eighteen
security personnel, including then Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant
Karkare and other top cops, were killed in the 62-hour battle.
Ten terrorists, trained and armed by the LeT in Pakistan, had
sneaked into Mumbai in November 2008, on a 'fidayeen' (suicide) mission,
and wreaked havoc during a 60-hour siege, killing and wounding people
at will. Only Kasab was captured alive, the other nine were killed in
The 26/11 trial, perhaps the fastest in a
terror case in India, had commenced on May 8, 2009, in a special court
set up at Arthur Road Jail. During the trial, 3,192 pages of evidence
were recorded. There were 658 witnesses and 296 of them were examined in
court on 271 working days. Another 357 witnesses were examined via
affidavit. There were five court's witnesses. The trial lasted 369 days.
Thirty witnesses in the court of judge M L Tahaliyani identified
Kasab as the man who had opened fire at them.
The prosecution, led by
Ujjwal Nikam, submitted 1,015 articles seized during investigations and
filed 1,691 documents to support its case. The prosecution had also
argued that Pakistan's security apparatus was used by LeT in the
For the first time in Indian legal history, FBI
officials deposed to give technical evidence that the killers came from
Pakistan using a Global Positioning System and that they made calls from
their mobile phones through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to stay
in touch with their handlers across the border.
also tabled CCTV footage of the terrorists moving about with guns and
firing at people. The images were captured on CCTV cameras fitted at CST
railway station, the Times of India building, and the Taj Mahal and
Photographs of Kasab shot by photojournalists
Sebastian D'Souza and Sriram Vernekar were also placed before the
court. However, Kasab took the plea that these were morphed and that he
was not the one shown in the stills.
Kasab is being held at a
specially-made bullet and bomb-proof cell in the high-security Arthur
Road central prison. He was brought every day to the court in the jail
premises escorted by 10 to 12 guards. Since the trial began, 200 troops
of Indo-Tibetan Border Police guarded him round-the-clock.
was captured alive on the first day of the attacks, and he confessed to
his crime before a Magistrate in February last year spilling the beans
about the conspiracy hatched in Pakistan and how they struck terror at
various places in Mumbai, only to retract it as soon as the trial
Midway through the trial, Kasab took a U-turn, admitting
partly his earlier confession, but diluting his role in the attacks and
passing almost the entire blame on his accomplice Abu Ismael. Finally,
at the end of the trial, he disowned all earlier versions and claimed
Seeking to obstruct the trial in the initial
stages, Kasab claimed he was juvenile but the court rejected his plea
after scientific evidence proved otherwise. The 11,000-page chargesheet
filed on February 25, 2008 put his age at 21. By the end of the trial it
was a 12,850-page chargesheet.
Kasab was represented by
three lawyers. The first, Anjali Waghmare was removed on technical
grounds even before the trial began as the court learnt that she had
also appeared for a witness in the same case. Abbas Kazmi, who replaced
her, was removed mid-way for not cooperating with the court.
P Pawar, who then defended Kasab, continued till the end and pleaded
that his client was innocent and was picked up by the police from
Chowpatty a few days before the 26/11 attacks. THE
According to prosecution, Kasab and his
accomplices were given commando and intelligence training at a camp in
Muridke in Pakistan by LeT chief Hafeez Sayeed and chief of operations
The chargesheet alleged that the
attackers sailed from Karachi in the "Al-Hussaini" a boat which they
abandoned near Porbunder, where they hijacked an Indian fishing trawler
'Kuber' to reach Mumbai.
On board Kuber, they murdered
navigator Amarsingh Solanki and four sailors. Solanki's body was found
in his cabin while those of others were dumped into the sea.
prosecution produced DNA reports of Kasab to show that they matched with
the articles found on the Kuber.
After abandoning the Kuber
near the Mumbai Coast, the attackers reached the shores in a dinghy
(rubber boat) carried by them from Pakistan. They disembarked at Badhwar
Park and fanned out in different directions in five batches of two each
to shoot and kill, the prosecution said.
It placed evidence
to show that the Honda engine fitted on the dingy was of Japanese make
and exported to Pakistan.
The 10 terrorists opened fire at
Hotel Trident-Oberoi, Hotel Taj Mahal, Nariman House (a Jewish outreach
centre), Chhatrapti Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and
Metro Cinema Junction. They also planted bombs in two taxis which
exploded killing people.
Hundreds were held hostage at Hotel
Taj, the Oberoi and Nariman House where terrorists fought National
Security Guards (NSG) and police for close to 60 hours before being
The nine slain terrorists were identified as Abu
Ismael, Abu Akasha, Abu Umar, Abdul Rehman Bada, Abu Umer, Abdul Rehman
Chhota, Fahad Ullah, Javed Abu Ali and Abu Shoeb.
captured at Girgaum Chowpatty following an encounter with the police
after he and Abu Ismael had killed several people at CST, in and outside
Cama Hospital, and Metro Junction.
The terrorist duo's
victims included Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, IPS officer Ashok
Kamate and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.
During the trial,
the court issued non-bailable warrants against 27 absconding accused,
including the LeT's Lakhvi and Hafeez Saeed. They have not been arrested
although the warrants have been served to the Interpol.
identity cards were recovered from all the terrorists who had concealed
their Pakistani identity by posing as Indian students.
this, articles of daily use with "Made in Pakistan" markings were found
on the Kuber. (With PTI inputs)