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'Treating Kasab's confession as Bible won't help'

July 21, 2009 15:12 IST
Ajmal Kasab's shocking confession comes at a time when Pakistan finally asserted that it would put all those involved in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai on trial. However, members of the legal fraternity in Bengaluru feel the court should be careful about Kasab's confession.

Justice N Santhosh Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, told that if the court accepted Kasab's version prima facie and convicted him on that basis, many aspects related to the Pakistan link will remain a mystery.

Senior lawyer Prakash Rai said, "It is an open and shut case alright and the world knows that Kasab has emerged out of Pakistan and nowhere else. But there is much more to the entire case. It is only through the courts and the trial that we can find out more about the Pakistan link and nail anyone connected with the horrific attacks."

"It seems a strange coincidence to me," Justice Hegde said, "that he has come out with the confession when the government of Pakistan admitted that he is a Pakistani. I really don't know how this was timed, but what I worry about most is that the Indian legal system ought not to fall prey to this."

Intelligence sources believe that before Kasab was sent to India with other members of his murderous team, he would have been assured that his family would be taken care of if something happened to him. He would also have been taught the information that needed to be revealed in case he was brought to trial and it seems he is doing exactly that.

According to Justice Hegde, the future course will be of utmost importance. The legal system should ensure that a full-fledged trial is conducted so that every bit of information related to the case emerges in the open.

"Treating Kasab's confession as a Bible for the case will not be of any help," the former Supreme Court judge said. "Moreover, it is not legally permissible to convict a man based on his own confession. Despite the confession being made before the judge, the accused can always claim during an appeal that he was made to do so under duress and this will prove fatal for the entire case."

"The court instead should adopt Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure," Judge Hegde said. "Under this provision, his confession will be taken into account and also all the evidence relating to the ISI, the handlers, the masterminds and also the Pakistan administration; whatever is there with our interrogators should be placed before him."

"He should be repeatedly asked in court about these aspects so that we have a fool-proof case against Pakistan. It is dangerous to just accept what Kasab or the Pakistan government is saying and treat it as a moral victory. We should be the ones nailing whoever is involved through legal means. The prosecution should not stop at his confession and instead should request the court to take all evidence it has on hand and also insist on a very speedy trial."

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru