Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terror attack case, alleged on Friday that the police had tutored witnesses to identify him as one of the attackers at the CST. Further, since his photograph was splashed around the world, it made identification easy.
He said the “shorter person,” a term often used by eyewitnesses to describe ‘Kasab,’ was not him; the real attacker was another man of short stature, named “Abu Ali, who had died.” “Since my height and face matched the CST attacker, the policed fitted me in the case.”
He alleged that the identification parade was manipulated by the police. Giving an instance, he said: “There was one witness who could not identify me. The officer then hinted at me with his eyes. Only one officer would escort the witnesses to the parade. You can see for yourself that most witnesses have given similar evidence.”
‘Kasab’ also denied having taken a taxi from the Badhwar Park or having planted a bomb in a taxi. “Atireki the; utar gaye, Taj mein [They were terrorists; they got off at Taj].” When asked to give the meaning of the word, ‘atireki,’ he said: “Jo dehshat karte hai. [Those who spread terror].”
The court reminded him of his voluntary confession on July 20 while he was in judicial custody. He had admitted to everything, including the exchange of fire with the police at the CST. But he said he had admitted out of fear for the police.
Referring to the men in uniform who stood next to him in the court, he said their presence itself was not good for his wellbeing. The judge reminded that he had specifically pointed to a photograph in a footage admitting that it was him. However, ‘Kasab’ said he had lied, and his confession was not true. He said he was not part of any of the CD footage. “The terrorists at CST and Taj are the same.” He felt that if punishment was delivered quickly, he would be shifted to another jail where he could be in peace. On Friday, he again appealed for punishment.
Alleging police torture, ‘Kasab’ said his confession recorded before the magistrate was forcibly taken. “Maar peet ke manvaya mujhe. Sab zabardasti. [They beat me and forced me to agree].”
‘Kasab’ said he was interrogated by four foreigners. “Chaar gore aye the. Usme ek Headley tha. [Four white people had come. One was Headley].” David Coleman Headley is now in the custody of the FBI for his alleged involvement in 26/11.
Avoiding straight answers and using digressions, ‘Kasab’ appeared to be playing to the gallery. So much so that the court had repeatedly asked him to look straight and stick to the point. About a witness having identified him, he said: “Poor thing, she was mistaken.”
As for the testimony of a 10-year-old child eyewitness, he said: “She is a child. She said what she was tutored to say.”
Like all his answers, he was also vague about his address and age. He first appeared to be unsure about his age, but later said he could be 20. When the court probed how he could take such a guess, ‘Kasab’ said: “Mother and father would say, son now you are 10 or 12 years old.”
He gave his address as Faridkot, Punjab. The judge queried: “Punjab in India or Pakistan?” “That the government has to decide. I am saying I am from Pakistan,” he replied. He did not know his date of birth and stated his occupation as “labourer.”