Even as it welcomed the Bombay high court’s verdict confirming capital punishment for Pakistani gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab in the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, the Mumbai police received a setback when the court upheld the acquittal of Indians, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
The high court said that the police did not take enough efforts to gather additional evidence corroborating the testimony of their main witness, Nooruddin Shaikh, against Ansari and Ahmed who were charged with providing logistical support to the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists.
“I had an informal discussion on the high court verdict with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and he is willing to file an appeal against the order of acquittal,” Nikam told the Hindustan Times after the verdict.
Ansari, a resident of Goregaon, was accused of conducting a recee of important locations in Mumbai and handing over hand-drawn sketches to Shaikh, a native of Bihar, at Kathmandu in January 2008, in Nooruddin’s presence.
The trial court of judge ML Tahiliyani had discarded Nooruddin’s testimony saying that there were strong chances of miscarriage of justice if his evidence was accepted. A police team had gone to Nooruddin’s house to serve summons but he was not at home. The police did not make any further efforts to serve him summons.
The high court also said that the police should have taken efforts to examine Bharat Thakur, another witness, who could have corroborated details of Nooruddin’s visit to Kathmandu.
After awarding Kasab the death penalty, the court said that in some cases, the harsh penalty of death was necessary to warn those who may want to walk down a similar path. “Soft handling of a crime like this will erode public confidence in the efficacy of law,” the bench said.
The judges noted that Kasab never showed any remorse or repentance for what he had done, and instead proclaimed that he wanted to be a role model for others. “He took devious pleasure in killing people.”
The court also issued a subtle warning to perpetrators of terror attacks, saying: “We want those who are desirous of emulating him to know that courts do not take a kindly view of such people.”