The Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, waiting for the gallows, at the Arthur Road jail is likely to be shifted out of the city to a jail outside at Pune or Nashik within two months.
The state government has sought opinion of the high court on whether Kasab’s should be present during his appeal hearing. If this is required, then the government will not shift him from his high security cell at Arthur Road.
Otherwise the home department is keen to shift him out of the city to another prison. The state may not wait for high court’s reconfirmation of the death sentence for this move.
The court is on vacation and so the decision is likely to be taken post end of May. It will take another month or so for the home department to make security arrangements at the other jail for Kasab and get the nod of the Centre on this.
“Arthur Road jail is in any case for undertrials. We want to shift him (Kasab) out of Mumbai because it is a security concern and a hassle for the city. We will wait for the high court’s response and then take a call,’’ said Chandra Iyengar, additional chief secretary (Home).
The home department has also requested the centre to grant them contingent of Indo-Tibet Border Police contingent to guard Kasab to wherever he gets shifted. Kasab was being guarded by 200 strong Indo Tibet Border Police (ITBP) during his entire trial. Since, he was kept at Arthur Road jail, the lone terrorist caught in the 26/11 terror attacks has not been taken out of its premises with a special court room created for the trial within the jail premises.
Officials are wary about Kasab’s transport. Sources in the department also said that there was no question of downgrading or reducing his security. “It’s our responsibility to keep him alive till he hangs. So, we are not taking any chances,’’ said an official, on condition of anonymity. But, otherwise, Kasab is in solitary and being treated as per the jail manual, he added.