Madan Laxmandas Tahiliyani, the judge who sent Ajmal Kasab to gallows, is versatile in both criminal and civil laws, an experience that came in handy during many a tricky moment during the Mumbai terror attack trial.
In a career spanning 23 years, Tahiliyani, a Sindhi from Gondia district of Maharashtra, has earned a reputation of being both tough and fair.
As the judge in the 26/11 trial, Tahaliyani kept a close watch on the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai attack who is known to have had mood swings ever since the trial began in mid-April last year.
The judge used a combination of tact and wit to ensure that the decorum of the court is always maintained, even during tense moments like when Kasab got up to admit his guilt.
His experience in criminal and civil laws came in handy during tricky moments in the trial—-like when a lawyer had to be appointed for Kasab or when the gunman pleaded that he was a minor or when he pleaded guilty in court.
He has presided over other high profile cases too like the murder case of music baron Gulshan Kumar but he shot into limelight since he presided over the Mumbai attack trial.
Tahaliyani began his career in 1987 when he was appointed a metropolitan magistrate in a Bandra court and was appointed as Additional Sessions judge in the Mumbai Sessions Court in 1997.
He was promoted as a judge in the city's civil and sessions court in early 2000 prior to taking up his assignment in the high court as Registrar (inspection). He was appointed as a judge in the 26/11 trial in 2009.
He was also posted as a special judge to handle CBI cases.
Tahaliyani also presided over the trial in the murder of trade union leader Datta Samant, who was gunned down in 1997 by members of the Chhota Rajan gang.