The UPA government — attacked by the BJP for delaying a decision on Parliament prime accused, Afzal Guru's mercy petition — on Tuesday insisted that Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab would be executed within a year.
"Even if the case goes in appeal, it will and should be fast tracked. Kasab will be hanged in next one year. He committed a barbaric act in front of so many witnesses," Law Minister N Veerappa Moily told CNN-IBN on Tuesday.
In contrast, Afzal Guru was convicted and sentenced to death by a Delhi court within 12 months of the Parliament attack. The Supreme Court upheld the death penalty nearly three years later and a mercy petition filed in 2006 is still pending, waiting for its turn in the home ministry.
The minister's comment came hours after Home Secretary GK Pillai spoke about the possibility of Kasab being sent to the gallows by this year-end, within the next eight months.
Pillai had, however, made it clear that this would depend on whether Kasab challenges his conviction and sentence.
"It all depends on him. If he doesn't file any appeal anywhere, I think the chances of him getting hanged this year are quite high," the home secretary said.
Moily, however, suggested Kasab's appeal could be heard in a fast-track mode.
"These are the days of fast-tracking," he later told Hindustan Times.