The country's top leadership did not know about 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab's
hanging, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told NDTV this evening. The entire process leading up to the execution of the only terrorist caught alive after the 2008 Mumbai terror strike was kept so secret that neither did most Cabinet minister not know, even Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other top party leaders were kept unaware.
"None of my Cabinet colleagues knew. They got to know from television this morning," Mr Shinde said. "The UPA president (Mrs Gandhi) was not part of the decision. This is the department's work, my routine work. It is my nature to keep work a secret, I have a police background." Mr Shinde had worked in Maharashtra police before joining politics. (Highlights of Mr Shinde's interview
He said that the high level of secrecy was required so that petitions in courts and human rights activists could be "avoided".
So far the indications are that only the Ministry of External Affairs apart from the Home Ministry was involved in the secretive and swift hanging of Kasab.
Mr Shinde revealed that the file rejecting Kasab's mercy plea by the President came to him on November 5, but he saw it only two days later, since he was in Rome for an Interpol conference. "The file said that the President had refused his mercy petition," Mr Shinde said.