‘I was acting like a robot, made to believe I was acting in the name of God’
The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of the death sentence awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and C.K. Prasad, after hearing senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam for Maharashtra and senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, amicus curiae appointed to assist Kasab, directed completion of pleading by November 30 and directed that the appeal be listed for final hearing on January 31, 2012.
Kasab was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010 and this was confirmed by the Bombay High Court on February 21 this year.
Even as the proceedings began, Justice Alam asked Mr. Ramachandran: “Does your man [Kasab] deserve it [appeal to be heard]. Many people in the country think he doesn't.” The amicus curiae replied that due process of law required it to be heard.
Mr. Subramaniam also said that despite the magnitude of the terror attack, the due process of law had to be maintained and the matter needed to be dealt with expeditiously. All documentation and translation work relating to the trial court and the High Court had been completed.
Justice Alam told counsel: “God knows we do our best to maintain the rule of law. At times we have to suffer, that is the price we pay for maintaining the rule of law.”
In his appeal, Kasab said his confessional statement relating to conspiracy had not been corroborated by any evidence led by the prosecution. Further, there was no evidence whatsoever of any training having been imparted to him.
Also, there was no evidence that he was in touch with any of the other accused conspirators at any point of time either prior to the incident or during the incident.
He also contended that the test identification parade was not conclusive for the reason that his picture was already splashed all over the newspapers and television channels which had adversely affected the independent judgment of witnesses.
He said that even if he was held guilty for the offence alleged, it was not a fit case for imposition of the death sentence as his mind was completely brainwashed by the other accused. He was acting like a robot having been made to believe that he was acting in the name of God when he was allegedly told to commit the offence.
He prayed for quashing the death sentence imposed on him and an interim stay on execution.