Mumbai: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, 25, the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, was hanged at Pune's Yerwada Jail at 7:30 this morning, in a swift and secret execution.
Kasab was buried inside the premises of Pune's Yerawada Central Jail shortly after he was hanged, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said. (Watch)
Kasab was informed of his death on November 12 and was moved from his secure cell in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail to Pune two days ago. The Yerwada jail is one of two in Maharashtra equipped to handle execution by hanging.
It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Pakistan had refused to acknowledge a letter informing of Kasab's hanging couriered as well as faxed to it through its high commission in New Delhi on November 20. But Press Trust of India reports that Pakistan has rejected this assertion and said the note regarding Ajmal Kasab's execution was "received and acknowledged". (Read)
"Our obligation to inform them has been fulfilled," foreign minister Salman Khurshid said. Mr Khurshid said that there was no claim so far for the body from Pakistan. "If there is, we will consider it," he said. (Watch: Salman Khurshid on 26/11 case, Kasab sentence) While it has been established that Kasab belonged to Pakistan, Islamabad has continued to deny it was in any way involved in the terror plot.
Maharashtra government sources told NDTV that the process laid down in the jail manual was followed. Kasab no last wish and he left no will. He was asked whether he wanted to contact his family in Pakistan. He declined but reportedly wanted his mother in Pakistan be told about his death sentence, which the government did through a special letter. (Read: Kasab had no last wish, no will)
An hour later after the hanging, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil announced it officially and said, "I sincerely believe this is a tribute to all innocent people and the officers who lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks."
President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected Kasab's mercy petition on
November 5, but the execution was kept under wraps and the announcement
was made only after he was hanged. The Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist was
shifted from Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail to Pune's Yerwada Jail this
166 people were killed over three days of terror, when 10 men from Pakistan sailed into Mumbai in November 2008. They split into pairs and spent 72 hours targeting the city's landmarks. A hospital was attacked; so was a Jewish centre. Kasab was the only terrorist who was caught alive. (Read: The terrorist caught alive on 26/11)
The abiding image is of him captured by a photo journalistat Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, strapped with ammunition and holding a deadly Kalashnikov rifle. He was intercepted at Girgaum Chowpatty by assistant police inspector Tukaram Ombale, who was killed while grappling with him. (Read: The Man who caught Kasab)
Mr Patil recounted that the death sentence handed to him by a special trial court was upheld both by the High Court and the Supreme Court; Kasab faced charges ranging from treason to waging war against India.
The execution comes one day before the Winter Session of Parliament begins and five days before the fourth anniversary of a day that will haunt Mumbai for many days. The BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was "better late than never." (Read)
Since his arrest in 2008, Kasab was kept in a high-security bulletproof cell in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail. He had moved the Supreme Court on February 14 this year against the High Court verdict of October 10 last year, which upheld a lower court order sentencing the terrorist to death. The lower court had pronounced its judgement on May 6, 2010, 18 months after he was captured. (Case Timeline)
Kasab's mercy petition was filed first with the Maharashtra Home Ministry, which rejected it in September, and forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry. Then, in October, the Home Ministry recommended that President Pranab Mukherjee reject his plea.
In his plea before the Supreme Court Kasab had said that he had not been given a fair trial. But the Supreme Court had rejected that contention and Justice CK Prasad had observed, "I am more than certain that the planning and conspiracy to commit the crime were hatched in Pakistan, the perpetrators of crime were Pakistani trained at different centres in that country, and the devastation which took place at various places in the city of Mumbai, were executed by the appellant in furtherance thereof." (Full text of Supreme Court's judgement on Kasab's death sentence)
There had been an overwhelming demand among people in India since 2008 that Kasab be executed for his role in the Mumbai attacks.Also, as Kasab's trial continued, the cost of keeping him alive had been a huge burden on the state exchequer.