He changed his stance five times during the 190-day trial. But his fate was finally decided on his confession, which he tried to go back on before pleading guilty again. For, facts proved his guilt, not innocence.
First, he said he was not guilty. Then, he said he wanted to plead guilty. And on December 18, he interrupted the special court’s proceedings, saying, “The police arrested me 20 days before the (November 26, 2008) attacks. I was fixed in place of a similar looking attacker.”
But his flip-flops — even if they were intentional — had no bearing on Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani on Monday when he declared 22-year-old Ajmal Kasab of the Punjab province of Pakistan guilty of waging war against India and indulging in mass killing.
Judge Tahilyani told special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and Kasab’s court-appointed lawyer K.C. Pawar that he had matched Kasab’s confession recorded by a magistrate against the corroborative evidence presented before the court.
“What he has said in the confession statement is corroborated by witnesses. Evidence has been collected on the basis of what he said in the confession,” the judge observed.
And he said he had not found anything to suggest that Kasab had not given the statement voluntarily. “Considering the circumstances, the confession is found to be voluntary,” the court said.
The judge said the magistrate had given 72 hours to Kasab to think about his decision to record a confession, while the high court provides 24 hours.
On July 20, Kasab told the court that he wanted to plead guilty and during the next four days, the court recorded his plea, running into 34 pages.
Although several details were different from that of the confession statement, the trial continued.
On August 7, he again said he wanted to plead guilty, but backtracked in the next half an hour.
The court also took into account Kasab’s retraction of the confession statement and said that it felt that the retraction was done “for the sake of retraction.”