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Kasab confessed without any pressure, says magistrate

Source: PTI
September 30, 2009 15:55 IST
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A city magistrate on Wednesday told the 26/11 trial court that prime accused Ajmal Amir Kasab had confessed before her voluntarily, his role in the terror attacks, saying he wanted others to draw inspiration from his confession.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rama Vijay Sawant Vagule said Kasab was produced before her on February 17 where he said he wanted to confess.

He was given 24 hours to reconsider if he wished to confess, she said. "On February 18, when Kasab was produced again before me, he reiterated that he wanted to confess. He showed no remorse for his crime and told me that he wanted to confess so that others may derive inspiration from his action," Vagule told the court.

"I also asked him whether there was any promise or force exerted upon him to confess and I also reminded him again that it was not obligatory on his part to confess and also that it would be used against him in the trial for sentencing him," the magistrate who deposed as a witness told Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nigam.

The magistrate was examined as a witness because Kasab had retracted his confession saying that he had made it under police duress.

"I also conducted a physical examination on Kasab and found that he had two injuries on his wrist which he said he had sustained during firing in the attacks," the magistrate said.

Kasab was again given 48-hours to reconsider and was produced before the magistrate on February 20. He once again reiterated that he wanted to confess voluntarily but since the court time was over, he was asked to come the next day. Finally, his confession was recorded on February 21 when he was produced without handcuffs before the magistrate, the court was told.

"I enquired from Kasab that whether 48-hours time was sufficient and he said yes. I also enquired whether anybody from the police had met him in the last 48-hours to which he replied in the negative. He was once again reminded that the confession could go against him," the magistrate told Judge M L Tahiliyani.

"After questioning Kasab, I was satisfied that he was ready to confess without any force and was doing so voluntarily. His confession was then recorded by me," she said.

Since some words were in Urdu, the confession was recorded in question-answer form, she said. All pages have signatures of Kasab and the magistrate. The confession of Kasab was shown to the magistrate and she said that it was the same confession that she had recorded that day.

The move to examine the magistrate is considered significant because Kasab had retracted his confession in the trial court saying his statement was recorded under duress and that he had not given a voluntary confession.

The prosecution is relying on confession made by Kasab before the magistrate and upon the guilt plea made by Kasab mid-way during the trial.

However, in the guilt plea Kasab has not accepted his entire role. For instance, he has admitted to have fired at the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus but said he was only following the instructions of Abu Ismail who was leading the team.

Kasab has also not admitted in the guilt plea that he had planted a bomb in a taxi and said it was Ismail who had done it.

Besides, Kasab denied having fired at slain police officers Ashok Kamte, Hemant Karkare and Vijay Salaskar. However, in the confession, Kasab had admitted his role in the CST attack, firing at the police officers and planting bomb in the taxi. Therefore, it is important to examine the magistrate, Nikam had said.

Kasab had also bared the role of Lashkar-e-Tayiba in his confession saying that LeT chief Hafeez Muhammed Saeed, the outfit chief of operations Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhavi and its member Abu Hamza had trained the accused in various parts of Pakistan in military exercises and intelligence training.

Kasab had said that Saeed had told them that time had come for 'jehad' and their ultimate goal of capturing Jammu and Kashmir could be achieved by attacking India.

They were told to go to Mumbai and indiscriminately fire at people killing as many as they could. Mumbai was the target because it is a financial hub and attracts foreign tourists.

The attack, in which over 160 people, including some foreigners were killed, was a proxy war on India and aimed at destabilising the country, Nikam said.

Kasab is involved in seven cases-- murder of crew of marine vessel 'Kuber', including its navigator Amarsingh Solanki, CST firing, Cama Hospital firing, gunning down three police officers, taxi bomb explosion in Vile Parle, theft of Skoda car and a policeman's murder at Chowpatty.

Kasab's team mates, killed by security armed forces, were involved in firing at Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Nariman House and the taxi bomb blast at Mazgaon. Kasab has been charged with conspiracy in these cases.

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