The prosecution has demanded death sentence for Lashkar terrorist Ajmal Kasab at the hearing in the special court on Monday. In his argument in the court, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has said that anything less than death would be injustice to the hundreds who died in the attacks. Special judge M L Tahaliyani reserved his judgement for Thursday after public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defence counsel K P Pawar wrapped up their arguments on the quantum of sentence to 22-year-old Kasab.
"Such a monster should be given death penalty...He is an agent of devil himself. If Kasab is given lesser punishment, India will become a soft target for every self-styled terror group," Nikam said in his arguments over quantum of sentence. Nikam described the killing of 166 people in the terror strikes as a rarest of the rare case fit for awarding death to the convict. "There has been a high degree of cruelty and Kasab had total disregard for life. Kasab is a killing machine and such machines are manufactured in Pakistan," Nikam told the court. Nikam said, "Kasab has lost every right to live. He was not happy after killing 72 persons and wanted to kill more." He said Kasab was in a joyous mood after seeing people dying in pain and agony after opening indiscriminate fire at the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Nikam cited nine Supreme Court judgements to show that the case fell in the rarest of rare category in which death penalty was necessary. In his arguments, the defence lawyer pleaded for leniency to be shown to the Pakistani terrorist on account of his young age and lack of previous criminal record. "He (Kasab) is young and chances of him reforming are likely. He should be rehabilitated," Pawar said. In a complete volte face from his contention during the trial that Kasab was innocent and was picked up by the police several days before the 26/11 attacks, his counsel said," He was blinded by religion and committed the crime under extreme mental and emotional disturbance. "He is a human being and should be given a chance to reform."
A special court is hearing the arguments on Tuesday on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Kasab, who has been held guilty for the murder of 170 people in the 26/11 terror strikes in the financial capital of the country.
Kasab has a right to file an appeal in the Bombay high court against the verdict of the trial court. At the same time the trial court judgment would be referred to the high court for confirmation. The Maharashtra government has also a right to appeal against the verdict which has acquitted Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed on charges of participating in the conspiracy and providing hand drawn maps of targets to Lashkar-e-Tayiba to execute the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he would recommend to the government to file an appeal against the verdict acquitting the duo as enough circumstantial evidence was produced in the court against them. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the government would go through the judgment and consult the home minister before deciding on filing an appeal.
Kasab would continue to be lodged in the bullet and bombproof cell in the central prison at Arthur Road Jail until his appeal is heard and disposed of, legal sources said.Normally, after conviction, the accused are shifted to other jails of Maharashtra but in Kasab will be lodged in the same prison in view of special security measures and the bombproof cell built for him, court sources said. Meanwhile, Ansari and Ahmed might be handed over to the Uttar Pradesh police by the Mumbai crime branch.Both are wanted in a case of firing at a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur. Additionally, Sabauddin is wanted in a case of murder of a scientist from Bangalore, crime branch sources said.Judge M L Tahaliyani, hearing the 26/11 terror case, had ordered their immediate release in view of their acquittal unless they are required in any other case.