Kasab (and Pak) guilty

May 3: Special judge M.L. Tahiliyani pronounced lone surviving 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Aamir Kasab guilty on almost all the 86 charges against him in a Mumbai courtroom packed to the rafters on Monday. The maximum punishment Kasab can get is death. However, the biggest surprise of the day came in the form of the acquittals of Indian co-accused Sabauddin Ahmed and Faheem Ansari.
In the 1,522-page verdict, the judge also held that evidence in the case pointed fingers at Pakistan. The evidence also established that absconding accused, including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) commanders Hafeez Sayeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi were involved in the terror attacks, the judge said.
“Main tumko doshi paya hai kyun ki aapne desh ke khilaf jung kiya aur 166 logon ki jan li apne doston se milkar (I hold you guilty of waging war against the nation along with your associates and killing 166 people),” the judge told 22-year-old Kasab, a native of Faridkot village in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed did not go down well with the crime branch, which is all set to appeal against the order in a higher court, senior crime branch officers told this newspaper. “The order is not convincing and we shall appeal against it after we get a detailed written order,” said ACP (crime) Deven Bharti. “Our case was very strong and we had enough evidence to prove our charges... and we did not expect acquittals,” he said.
Earlier, before the court assembled, a phalanx of mediapersons stood outside. There was not a seat available inside. The police officers, led by JCP (crime) Himanshu Roy, took their places just a few minutes prior to the judge coming to court. Clad in a white kurta-pyjama, Kasab arrived at around 12.15 pm, looking confident and calm. The other two accused, who arrived minutes before Kasab, also looked unperturbed.
The judge began by pronouncing the judgment with details of tables and the particulars of the charges under which Kasab was held guilty. Addressing special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, the judge said it was not possible for him to read out the entire 1,522-page judgment. The judge gave detailed reasons about why the accused was held guilty not only of the charge of murder of seven persons who died because of bullets fired by him, but of conspiracy, waging war against the nation and the murder of all the 166 victims. The judge asked defence advocate K.P. Pawar to prepare his argument on the quantum of punishment for Kasab by Tuesday.

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