Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Ajmal Kasab

Mumbai police silent on Headley’s role in 26/11 attacks

leave a comment »

If Mumbai Police is to be believed, American-born terrorist David Headley, who has confessed to conducting a recce of all 26/11 targets in the city, may have played no role in the carnage. The assessment by the Mumbai Police is reflected in its appeal before the Bombay High Court in which its elite Crime Branch is silent on the role of the Pakistan-origin LeT terrorist while contesting the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin in the November 26, 2008 attack that left 166 people dead.

While the Ministry of Home Affairs burnt midnight oil over getting access to Headley after his role in the brazen attack emerged, the focus of Mumbai Police through its Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal D Nikam was that the terrorists intruded into the country’s financial capital with the help of hand-written maps drawn by Ansari.

Headley is at present in a jail in Chicago in the US.

Headley, who was recruited by Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group, has confessed to the US authorities and India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA) in front of a magistrate about his role in carrying out the survey of the locations attacked by the terrorists on 26/11.

“When they (police) are seized of the issue of 26/11, it was incumbent upon them to bring forward all criminals concerning the crime and their respective roles played therein before the court of trial and appeal so that truth prevails and no scope for misunderstanding occur,” defence counsel for Ansari, R B Mokashi, said in Mumbai.

Headley’s arrest and subsequent revelations had left Mumbai Police red-faced and punctured their theory of criminal conspiracy involving only Ansari and Sabauddin.

The two had, however, been discharged by the Special Judge M L Tahaliyani saying that better maps were available on Internet.

“As per the judicial confession of Ajmal Kasab, Lashker had explained the targets with the help of video shootings and map. It is clear from the plea bargain of David Headley that he was entrusted the work of taking video of targets,” Nikam said and maintained that the maps were prepared by Ansari and Sabauddin.

“One such map was found in the pocket of deceased terrorist Abu Ismail and the hand writing on it is proved to be of Ansari,” Nikam claimed.

A response was also sought from Joint Commissioner of Mumbai’s Crime Branch Himanshu Roy to comment on role played by Headley in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. However, there was no immediate response from him.

Kasab to challenge death sentence

with one comment

The only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Kasab, has requested a new lawyer in order to appeal his death sentence, an official said on Friday. Early last month, a special court gave Mohammed Ajmal Kasab multiple death sentences after he was convicted on charges including murder, waging war against India, conspiracy and terrorism. Kasab was purportedly provided with free legal aid – initially advocate Abbas Kazmi was his lawyer and then advocate KP Pawar – during his trial. He has the option of choosing senior lawyers from the HC panel to defend him in the high court, said an HC advocate. But Kasab is expected to receive the same kind of judicial treatment and “due process” that he has experienced at the hands of Judge M L Tahiliyani. Within a month of the verdict, Kasab has approached the Bombay High Court to challenge the death sentence awarded to him by a special court on May 6. But it is obvious that Kasab expects no justice, since it is the same judicial system.

Arthur Road jail authorities confirmed an appeal letter by Kasab along with a copy of the judgment running into over 1,500 pages was forwarded to the high court. The jail petition sent by Kasab has also requested that a lawyer from the legal aid panel be appointed to represent him in the high court. The government prosecutor in the trial Ujjwal Nikam said that Kasab had sent a letter to the Bombay High Court’s Legal Aid Cell on Wednesday asking to be given a new lawyer in order to help him prepare an appeal against his death sentence. It was not immediately clear when the court would reach a decision on the matter.

A photograph of Kasab, 22, striding through Mumbai’s main train station, an assault rifle in hand, became the iconic image of the three-day siege in November 2008 that claimed the lives of 166 people. Kasab was one of 10 young Pakistanis who attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station in Mumbai. Kasab’s sentence must be reviewed by the High Court. He can also appeal the decision and apply for clemency to the state and central governments. Death sentences — reserved in India for only the “rarest of rare” cases — by law have to be confirmed by the local high court after reviewing the evidence. Defendants have a right of appeal and can challenge the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court. A final plea for clemency can be made to the country’s president.

Senior state government officials in Maharashtra have said they want the verdict and sentence ratified swiftly, amid public calls for Kasab to be executed as soon as possible. But questions have been raised about how long Kasab will be kept on death row, as India has not carried out an execution since 2004 and only two since 1998, while dozens of final clemency appeals are still pending.