The special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam who had tried Mohammad Ajmal Kasab in the special court in Mumbai, remembered Kasab as an intelligent, but shrewd criminal, someone like he has never witnessed in his career.
Mr. Nikam termed Kasab’s hanging on Wednesday morning as the victory of India’s impartial judicial system.
“He was not only intelligent, but was specially trained to face worse of the situations here. His case was the most crucial case in my career as I have never seen a criminal as shrewd as him,” said Mr. Nikam over the phone with The Hindu, from his native Jalgaon in North Maharashtra. “We have exposed Pakistan’s hand in the terror attacks against India through Kasab’s trial, which is our biggest of achievements,” he said.
“We gave him the fair trial and an opportunity to defend himself. But the truth prevailed in the end and he was hanged only after following proper judicial process. It’s a victory for India and its impartial judicial system,” said Mr. Nikam.
“By Kasab’s conviction and his death penalty the country has paid tribute to the memories of those who died in the 26/11 attack on the country,” he said. Countering the claims of delay in executing the death penalty to Kasab, Mr. Nikam said that such criticism would be unfair to the hundreds of Indians who tirelessly worked and helped in his hanging. “This time span should not be called as delay, because the trial was on. We have delivered the justice,” said Mr. Nikam.
Apart from his trial in the special court, Mr. Nikam also assisted senior counsel Gopal Subramanium in the Supreme Court. The chargesheet filed against Kasab was of 14,280 pages and was made available in Urdu also, apart from English, to help Kasab to understand the charges against him. It was put up on February 25, 2009. Around 657 witnesses were examined during the trial, which commenced on April 10, 2009. The trial in the special court was completed on May 6, 2010, consuming 110 working court days. Kasab’s plea to cancel the death penalty was rejected by the Supreme Court on August 29, 2012.
Rakesh Maria, chief of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), called the entire process of investigation and execution as labouring and painstaking. “Today he (Kasab) received justice, though he deserved none. This is the beauty of our legal justice system, sanctity of our democracy and the country,” he said.
Refusing to divulge any details of the operation of shifting Kasab from Mumbai to Pune, he said that the legal and religious sanctity was followed during the operation. “The facility to hang a person is available only in two places in the state, in Pune and in Nagpur and Pune was nearer for us,” said Mr. Maria.
Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), Deven Bharti, also congratulated the entire team of investigating officers to build a strong case against Kasab. Mr. Bharti held a key position in the crime branch during the investigation of the case.