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Updated: October 18, 2010 23:48 IST

26/11: hearing on Kasab's death penalty confirmation begins in High Court

Staff Reporter
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Ajmal Kasab
Ajmal Kasab

The hearing on the confirmation of the death sentence awarded by a trial court to Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman of the 26/11 attacks, began on Monday, with the prosecution opening its arguments. Kasab's presence before the court was facilitated via video conferencing.

Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam presented the facts of the case and the evidence on record before Justices Ranjana Desai and RV More. He read out the five counts on which Kasab had been given the death penalty — murder, abetment to murder, waging war, criminal conspiracy and committing terrorist acts.

The prosecution briefed the court on the sequence of events that led to the assault and Kasab's alleged role in specific attacks in the entire terror strike.

“On May 6 this year, a sessions court in Mumbai had sentenced Kasab to death. Today, I opened my case in order to convince the court that the [lower] court's sentence is justifiable…,” Mr. Nikam told reporters outside the court.

The prosecution said Kasab had planted a bomb on a taxi which exploded in the suburb of Ville Parle. It then described the act of indiscriminate firing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) by Kasab and his partner Abu Ismail.

The taxi blast killed passenger Laxminarayan Goyal and driver Mohammed Umar Abdul Khalid.

The prosecution also presented around 40 witnesses, comprising technical, formal and eyewitness testimonies.

The court expressed dismay on hearing about the jamming of police rifles during the CST attack and the presence of only one police officer at the scene. However, it also complimented the force for Kasab's arrest. “It is because of their bravery that the impact of the attack was reduced,” the court remarked.

Meanwhile Kasab, to whom the court did not pose any queries, was smiling and looking around listlessly during the course of the proceedings.

On Tuesday, the court will continue with the hearing of the confirmation case. Defence lawyers opined the proceedings will last about two months.

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