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Kasab's U-turns fail to derail 26/11 trial

May 03, 2010 18:10 IST

Frequent U-turns by Ajmal Kasab marked the nearly year-long trial in the 26/11 terror attack case with the Pakistani gunman first confessing to his crime then retracting it before surprising all by making a guilt plea and then disowning his confession altogether.

For the first time after his arrest, Kasab confessed to Magistrate Sawant Wagule on February 21, 2009, saying that LeT had carried out Mumbai attacks and he had come with nine others from Pakistan by sea to strike terror.

The Magistrate had warned Kasab that his confession could be used against him in the trial and also asked him whether he was being forced by police to give a statement, to which he replied in the negative.

However, on May 6, 2009, when the court framed charges against Kasab, he pleaded not guilty, saying yeh sab kuch galat hai. Hamein kabul nahin hai (all this is false. These charges are not acceptable to me).

Earlier, in a bid to obstruct his trial by the special anti-terror court, the Pakistani terrorist had claimed he was just 17 years of age and demanded that he be tried by a juvenile court.

An inquiry was ordered and scientific tests established that he was an adult. Making another about turn in the midst of the trial on July 20, 2009, Kasab told judge M L Tahaliyani that he wanted to confess.

Kasab's admission of guilt was somewhat watered down this time. While acknowledging that he came from Pakistan with others on a suicide mission and opened fire at CST and other places, he denied having killed civilians and policemen.

Kasab told the court that Abu Ismael, killed in police encounter at Girgaum Chowpatty, was his leader and he was merely following him.

He denied killing Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Tukaram Ombale, Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Addl CP Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, besides Amarsingh Solanki, navigator of Kuber boat by which the terrorists had arrived near Mumbai shores.

Once again, on December 18 last, Kasab, in his statement after the recording of evidence, went back on his confession and denied that he was a terrorist.

He claimed he had come from Pakistan as a tourist and was picked up by police from Juhu Chowpatty days before the attack and falsely implicated in 26/11 terror attack case.

Kasab said he had made the guilt plea earlier under police pressure. Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam described Kasab's frequent change in stand as a strategy to hoodwink the authorities.

"He is following the Al-Qaeda manual by changing his stand quite often. The manual says that a person trained in terror activities should attempt to derail investigation and court proceedings by changing his stand frequently," Nikam said.

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