The 26/11 court on Tuesday fixed May 6 for sentencing Ajmal Kasab in the Mumbai attacks case after the prosecution pitched for death penalty for the Pakistani terrorist and the defence pleaded for leniency given his young age.
Special judge ML Tahaliyani reserved his judgement for Thursday after public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defence
counsel KP Pawar wrapped up their arguments on the quantum of sentence to 22-year-old Kasab, who was held guilty of mass murder and waging war against the nation on Monday.
"Such a monster should be given death penalty...He is an agent of devil himself. If Kasab is given lesser
punishment, India will become a soft target for every self-styled terror group," Nikam said in his arguments over
quantum of sentence.
Nikam described the killing of 166 people in the terror strikes as a rarest of the rare case fit for awarding
death to the convict.
"There has been a high degree of cruelty and Kasab had total disregard for life. Kasab is a killing machine and such machines are manufactured in Pakistan," Nikam told the court.
Nikam said, "Kasab has lost every right to live. He was not happy after killing 72 persons and wanted to kill
He said Kasab was in a joyous mood after seeing people dying in pain and agony after opening indiscriminate
fire at the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and elsewhere on November 26, 2008.
"There was no remorse and he said in his confession before the magistrate that he wanted to inspire future
'fidayeens' (suicide killers)."
Nikam said Kasab had expressed disappointment that he had landed at the CST after the rush hour. Kasab had
anticipated a busier station, based on CDs he had been shown of CST before the attack.
He said the the group was supposed to reach CST before 8 pm but could do so only at 9.30 pm.
The prosecutor also said that in his confession to the Mumbai police, Kasab said that he was upset that he could not kill more people at the station. At CST alone, Kasab killed close to 60 people in an hour with his partner, Abu Ismael.
Nikam cited nine Supreme Court judgements to show that the case fell under the rarest of rare category in which death penalty was necessary.
Emerging from the court, Nikam told reporters that he had cited eight reasons to drive home his point that Kasab
should be hanged.
He said the 26/11 attacks were a result of a "pre-planned conspiracy hatched in Pakistan".
Kasab and Ismael had opened indiscriminate firing without anyone provoking them, he contended.
Nikam said Kasab's comparison to a wild animal would be insulting the latter. A wild animal is satisfied after
devouring its prey but Kasab was looking for pumping bullets into more people.
The prosecutor submitted to the court pictures of Kasab caught on camera laughing as he sprayed bullets.
The terrorist "was happy to see people in pain and anguish as a result of his firing," he said. "It was not cold
blooded murders but frozen-blooded murders".
The verdict came 17 months after Kasab and nine other Pakistani terrorists trained and armed by Pakistan-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba let loose death and destruction on Mumbai.
In his 1522-page verdict, the judge had also held that evidence adduced by the prosecution pointed a finger at
Pakistan and established that the absconding accused, including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and chief of operations
Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi had plotted the attacks.
Barring a few minor charges pertaining to forgery and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Kasab was convicted of
almost all 86 charges he was arraigned for.
In his arguments, the defence lawyer pleaded for leniency to be shown to the Pakistani terrorist on account of
his young age and lack of previous criminal record.
"He (Kasab) is young and chances of him reforming are likely. He should be rehabilitated," Pawar said.
In a complete volte face from his contention during the trial that Kasab was innocent and was picked up by the
police several days before the 26/11 attacks, his counsel said," he was blinded by religion and committed the crime
under extreme mental and emotional disturbance.
"Kasab is a human being and should be given a chance to reform."