Court upholds death sentence to Kasab

Mumbai,February 21 (PTI): The Bombay High Court on Monday confirmed the death penalty to 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab, terming the case as rarest of rare and holding there was “no scope of reform” of the convict. “There is no scope of reform or rehabilitation of the convicted accused. It is a rarest of rare case and the court cannot be more confident than it is today that death penalty must be given,” a division Bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R. V. More observed, upholding the death sentence to 24-year-old Kasab.
 “Aapko saza-e-maut yeh adalat barkarar karti hai. Aap Supreme Court mein appeal zari kar sakte hain (Your death sentence is upheld. You can appeal before the Supreme Court,” Justice Desai told a bearded Kasab, clad in a spotless white kurta and sporting a grin, through video conferencing. The court upheld Kasab’s conviction on all charges including multiple murders, conspiracy and waging war against the nation. The confirmation comes nine months after the lone 26/11 terrorist captured alive was ordered to be sent to the gallows by the trial court on May 6, last year.
The court, however, dismissed the Maharashtra government’s petition against the acquittal of two Indians Faheem Ahmed Ansari and Mohammad Sabauddin Ahmed, accused of aiding the commission of the crime. “We are with the trial court’s observation that there is no corroboration of evidence to prove involvement of Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case,” the judgement said. “Kasab has never shown any remorse after his arrest and we have observed that even on video conference he has not shown any signs of regret,” Justice Desai said reading out the judgement for the Bench.
“Harsh penalty of death is required in some cases, especially this one, and the court would be sending a wrong signal to society if any penalty less than death is given,” the court said. Recalling the sacrifices made by the men in uniform during the attacks, the court said, “Several brave policemen were killed in the attacks and we would be failing in our duty if we did not acknowledge their sacrifice.” Kasab, a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, has been confined to jail since his arrest on November 26, 2008, when he was caught alive at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai. Nine others, who had come with Kasab, from Karachi by sea, were gunned down by security forces at terror sites — Hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident and Jewish outreach centre Nariman House in South Mumbai, but not before leaving 166 dead and many more injured.
During arguments in the High Court, Kasab pleaded that his trial was “unfair” and demanded a fresh trial contending that material evidence was suppressed and norms were not followed to defend him. However, his plea was rejected. Government Counsel Ujjwal Nikam placed photographs and CCTV footages showing Kasab in terror acts. However, Kasab argued that they had been morphed and his face was not clear. The prosecution also relied on Kasab’s confession before a magistrate accepting his role in 26/11 attack and his guilt plea before trial court admitting the crime.