Until he came face to face with the instantly recognisable terrorist, the hangman who carried out the death sentence on Ajmal Amir Kasab had no idea whom he had been called in to execute.
In keeping with secrecy and security norms, the identity of the hangman had not been revealed. Sources at Pune's Yerwada central jail, however, said he was a Muslim from central Maharashtra.
He was apparently called in two days before the Wednesday morning execution, to prepare for the first hanging at the prison in 17 years.
The hangman was apparently allowed no contact with the outside world during those two days, for fear that he might reveal the plan that had been set in motion.
The execution was reportedly completed in three hours.
Immediately after the execution, the hangman was moved out of Yerwada, to an undisclosed location.
Pune police not informed either
Until Wednesday morning, even the Pune police were reportedly not informed of the impending execution. A few hours before the sole surviving terrorist of the 26/11 terror siege was due to be put to death, they were informed and asked to depute additional forces outside the jail.
No senior policeman was present, to avoid attracting attention to the spot.
"We knew that Kasab had been brought to Yerwada but we never expected such a move in such a short time," a senior Pune police official told HT, on condition of anonymity.