Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Wednesday argued before the special sessions court, trying the 26/11 case, that the judicial confession statement of gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab was voluntary, and that his retraction later was an afterthought and hence ought to be discarded.
Kasab's judicial confession was recorded over three days, February 18, 20 and 21 in 2009.
Mr. Nikam said the magistrate who recorded Kasab's confession testified in court that she had sought to assure herself that the accused was deposing voluntarily. During cross-examination, Mr. Nikam pointed out, defence had not brought out that the confession had been extracted or that the police had subjected Kasab to physical torture in a bid to obtain the statement. Referring to the presence of a police guard in the magistrate's chamber during the recording of the statement, the prosecutor said his role was “passive.” His being attached to the court made the constable independent of the investigation.
As for the contents of the statement, Mr. Nikam said Kasab provided minute details of his life in Pakistan, starting from his family to the hatching of the conspiracy to launch terror attacks in Mumbai, of the training camps and the modus operandi of the handlers. “The prosecution could simply not have known all these facts.”
In his “retraction note,” submitted before the court on April 17, 2009, two days after the trial began, Kasab alleged the confession statement was “false, bogus and involuntary,” the police tortured him in custody, the content of his statements had not been read out to him and that his signatures had been obtained by force and coercion.
Mr. Nikam refuted the charge, saying cross-examination of investigating officers Ramesh Mahale and Prakash Marde was “totally silent” on the alleged ill-treatment. Therefore, “Kasab has miserably failed, as no case has been made out of his unwillingness to confess. [Plus], there is no foundation to believe that he was ill-treated to give a confession.”
Mr. Nikam argued: “Confession made voluntarily can be regarded as presumptive evidence of truth. The prosecution has corroborated his confession with evidence.”
Meanwhile, the court allowed that personal belongings, including two passports, be returned to Ehsan Malik, who was a guest at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel at the time of the terror attacks.
The police were asked to return a mobile phone with battery, a laptop charger, a pen drive, and passports issued by Pakistan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which were left behind by Mr. Malik in his room.