Exactly 525 days after he landed on the city’s coast, with nine other gunmen, and mounted attacks that killed 166 people, a special court on Monday held Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab (22) guilty of murder and waging war against the country.
Fahim Ansari (36) and Sabauddin Ahmed (25), the alleged Indian co-conspirators, were acquitted for lack of
<b1>Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he would recommend to the state to appeal against their acquittal.
In a courtroom packed with media persons and policemen, special judge ML Tahilyani convicted Kasab on a total of 80 charges that include being a member of a terrorist organisation (Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba), committing a terrorist act, smuggling arms and setting off bomb blasts in the city.
To convict Kasab, the court primarily relied on his confessional statement and held that he had confessed voluntarily. “His retraction at a later date was only for the sake of it and without reason,” the court said. It also relied on 111 eye-witnesses, two FBI agents, forensic evidence and data provided by Indian and foreign telecom firms.
"The evidence against him [Kasab] proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not a case of simple murder but a case of waging war,” Tahilyani said, observing that “the resistance put up by the accused is indicative of [waging a] war”.
Reading from the 1,522-page verdict, Tahilyani said the trial had found that the handlers of the 10 attackers were based in Pakistan. Kasab, wearing a white kurta-pyjama, sat in the dock with his head hung low throughout the three-and-a-half hour proceeding.
After the judge explained why the court had found him guilty, he sat and broke down.