After a 271-day trial, a special sessions court at the Arthur Road jail here on Monday pronounced Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, guilty of waging war against India.
The 1,522-page judgment convicted Kasab of conspiring to wage war, along with nine other terrorists and 20 co-conspirators in Pakistan, and of murder and abetment to murder, among other offences. Among the 20 wanted accused indicted by the court are Lashkar operatives Hafeez Saeed, Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Abu Hamza.
The arguments for the quantum of sentence will begin on Tuesday.
Special sessions judge M.L. Tahaliyani acquitted the other two accused, both Indians, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, of “all the charges framed against them.” The two had been accused of making and conveying maps of target locations in Mumbai.
The court said: “The preparations made for the attacks by Kasab and nine other attackers, and the co-conspirators, the training imparted to the gunmen, the arms and ammunition involved and the quantity of cartridges reached proved beyond reasonable doubt that this was not a simple case of murder but an offence punishable under Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code.” This Section refers to “waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the government of India.”
Mr. Tahaliyani observed that the terror strike was aimed at the Indian government forces. The government had to command the services of the National Security Guard and, in the initial phase of the assault, the Naval commandoes — the MARCOS — had put up a fight.
On the basis of the call data records, circumstantial evidence and Kasab's retracted confession, the court found Kasab, the other gunmen and 20 co-conspirators guilty of the offence of criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the IPC. From the conversations with the handlers and circumstantial corroboration of Kasab's retracted statement, the court came to the conclusion that “they [co-conspirators] were stationed somewhere in Pakistan.”
Kasab has been directly found guilty of murdering seven persons, including assistant police inspector Tukaram Ombale, who was killed while apprehending him. He was also found to be directly involved in the attacks at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Cama hospital, Metro junction and Girgaum Chowpatty.
In incidents involving the nine deceased accused, Kasab has been found guilty of offences punishable under Section 302 (murder) to be read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC.
Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the court found him guilty of “being a member of the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba.” Kasab was held guilty for “committing terrorist acts under Section 15 of the UAPA.”
He was pronounced guilty of offences under various sections of the Arms Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Passport (Entry into India) Act, the Customs Act, the Railways Act and the Foreigners Act and acquitted in some minor cases.