“Important to probe Ajmal’s confession”

Rahi Gaikwad

Mumbai: “We have to see whether he [Ajmal Amir] is really pleading guilty to all the charges levelled against him. Accepting or rejecting his plea comes at a later stage,” Judge M.L. Tahaliyani said on Tuesday at the special sessions court in the Arthur Road Jail.

He noted that there were three options before the court. One — to accept Ajmal’s plea, two — to reject it, and three — to let it remain on record and continue with the trial. He said, since a precedent in this regard in a case of such a nature was less likely to be found, the prosecution would have to find out how to proceed legally.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said outside the court that on Wednesday the prosecution would table a detailed submission after discussions with the investigators.

“It is important to probe ‘Kasab’s’ intention behind confessing and what exactly he is hiding. Ajmal had not mentioned the name Jundal to the police or the magistrate; that too has to be investigated. The police are minutely examining his statement,” he said.

Mr. Nikam said, in the opinion of the court, Ajmal’s plea falls under Section 229 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), but “we object to that.” The Section states: “If the accused pleads guilty, the judge shall record the plea and may, in his discretion, convict him thereon.”

The Special Public Prosecutor also said leaking of information to Ajmal would to be looked into, although there was nothing wrong in it.

The prosecution does not see Ajmal’s sudden decision to confess as an unguided move. “He is well advised and well practised,” Mr. Nikam told the media.

Commenting on his client’s confession for the first time, Ajmal’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi said even he was taken by surprise. The defence lawyer refuted the prosecution’s persistent allegations that he was delaying the trial. “The fact that I allowed Ajmal to confess shows [that I am not making any such attempt].” As for the discrepancies between Ajmal’s version and that of the police, he said, “Since Ismail is no more, his actions have been thrust on ‘Kasab’.”

While Ajmal has confessed to firing, he has denied killing Assistant Sub-Inspector Tukaram Ombale. Moreover, he has said it was Ismail who fired at top police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar. He has also denied any knowledge of the maps.

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