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KASAB IS GUILTY : MAAR DIYA JAYE YA CHOD DIYA JAYE

Posted by :) on May 5, 2010


V IS FOR VINDICATED: Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam flashes a v-sign sign as he holds a report outside the court.

His conviction was based on CCTV footage showing him striding across the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) with an AK-47 and a backpack. The prosecution had called 653 witnesses to testify against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative born in an impoverished family in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Tahalyani ruled that Kasab was guilty of directly killing seven people and a total of 59 along with associate Abu Ismail, who was shot dead after running into a police picket at Girgaun Chowpatty early on November 27 – shortly after the terror assault began in Mumbai on the night of November 26.
Ansari, 35, and Ahmed, 24, were also in court. The two – Ahmed from Goregaon in Mumbai and Ahmed from Madhubani in Bihar — had been charged with conspiracy by preparing maps of the targeted locations and handing them to LeT operatives.
But the judge said the Pakistani handlers of the terrorists would not have gone for hand-drawn maps, which were more “confusing than helpful”. Ismail’s trousers were bloodstained when he was killed by the police but the maps in his pockets were clean.
“The prosecution’s evidence against these two accused is doubtful and hence the benefit of doubt must go to them,” said Tahalyani.
The court said Ansari and Ahmed have been “forthwith acquitted from the case and allowed to be set free if they are not wanted in any other case”. The two may not be released soon, as they are accused in at least two other terror cases.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he would recommend to the Government to appeal against the order acquitting Faheem and Sabauddin in the High Court.
“I am very happy (about conviction of Kasab). But I regret the acquittal of two other accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed. The court has given them benefit of doubt. We will challenge their acquittal,” he said.
Both were “passive actors” in the conspiracy and “we had placed enough circumstantial evidence which the court should have considered,” Nikam said.
Kasab did not react when Tahalyani told him: “main tumko doshi paya hai kyun ke aapne desh ke khilaf jung kiya aur 166 logon ki jan li apne doston se milkar” (I hold you guilty of waging war against the nation and killing 166 people along with your accomplices).
The court held Kasab guilty for killing people at the CST and near Cama Hospital. He was also blamed for abetting murder at other scenes of the attack where his accomplices perpetrated mass killing.
It ruled that Kasab and Ismail shot and killed Hemant Karkare, chief of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar outside Cama Hospital.
He was held guilty for the murders of Assistant Police Inspector Tukaram Ombale, who captured him, and Amarsinh Solanki, the navigator of Kuber fishing trawler used by the terrorists to reach Mumbai.
War against the Indian state
The court ruled that the Mumbai attackers were not ordinary criminals but had launched war against the Indian state–the conspiracy for which was hatched in Pakistan.
“It was not a simple act of murder. It was war. It was part of a larger conspiracy to wage war against the nation,” said Tahiliyani in a summary of his judgment. “This type of preparation is not made by ordinary criminals. This type of preparation is made by those waging war.”
The court held that 20 of the 35 wanted accused — including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and Abu Hamza — were involved in the conspiracy to attack Mumbai.
It observed that terrorists’ handlers from Pakistan were directing them, asking them to “fight until death” and not allow themselves to be caught alive.
The court accepted the evidence of all the 30 witnesses who identified Kasab as the man who had opened fire at them.
Tahiliyani said photojournalists Sebastian D’souza and Sriram Vernekar, who clicked Kasab at CST, railway announcer Vishnu Zende and 11-year-old girl Devika Rotawan were the best witnesses available to the court.
Kasab was held guilty under provisions of Arms Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act, Railway Act and other laws, but smaller charges like forgery were dropped.
All the ten terrorists who attacked Mumbai were found to be carrying fake identity cards, but the judge said it was not proved beyond reasonable doubt that Kasab had himself forged the document.
Kasab was charged on 86 counts, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including waging war against the nation. Besides, he faced charges under the Explosives Act, the Arms Act, the Passport Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act, the Customs Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Bombay Police Act, the Foreigners Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The 60-hour audacious attack that began on the night of November 26, 2008 and went on till the afternoon of Nov 29, 2009 was carried out by 10 Pakistani terrorists including Kasab.
They targeted sites like the CST, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, Hotel Oberoi-Trident, the Cama Hospital and the Chabad House, a Jewish prayer centre, and the popular hangout Leopold Café.
The trial of Kasab started on April 15, 2009 and was completed March 31 this year, after nearly seven months of hearings, excluding breaks and vacations.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS and Reuters.)
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