Kasab drops another bombshell - confession in courtJuly 20th, 2009 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) It was like any other day at the Arthur Road Jail where Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab is housed and undergoing trial for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The court had assembled for the day’s proceedings amid a steady drizzle outside.
Around 11.30 a.m., Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani entered the air-conditioned courtroom and everybody stood up.
Kasab, wearing a spotless white kurta-pyjama, was waiting in the enclosure opposite the judge, while the day’s witness was sitting nearby on one of the benches.
Almost half of the other 25-odd benches were occupied by yawning mediapersons and around two dozen policemen on duty.
Just then, Kasab’s government-appointed lawyer S.G. Abbas Kazmi entered the court and took his seat after nodding a greeting to his rival, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
Kasab requested the court’s permission to speak with his lawyer. Barely a minute later, Kazmi announced that his client (the accused Kasab) wanted to say something to the court.
Then Kasab dropped the bombshell.
The lone Pakistani terrorist caught alive in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks rose and addressed Special Judge Tahilyani in Urdu: “Sir, I would like to plead guilty to all the charges against me.”
Even as the import of Kasab’s statement could sink in the minds of the main players present - judge Tahilyani, Kazmi and Nikam - the media enclosure turned into a beehive of activity, while the cops murmured amongst themselves.
Since all mobile phones have to be deposited with the security, the journalists had no way of informing their colleagues waiting outside or their offices. Trying to conceal their excitement, they began furiously taking down notes and hung on to each word Kasab uttered.
“Kasab spoke into the microphone in a calm and composed manner with no emotions as he described the spate of killings he and his nine associates carried out with impunity during 26/11,” said a media person who has been covering the trial since the beginning.
It was only during the lunch break that the media persons were able to rush out to give the big news break that stunned the whole country.
During the post-lunch session, the media room was overpacked as even the foreign media corps rushed in to cover the day’s proceedings.
At times, Kasab even corrected himself and the Special Judge over certain points that were noted.
He interspersed his confession with the evidence recorded by some witnesses in the past and even clarified on their statements to present a crystal-clear picture.
Later, a beaming Nikam termed it as “a victory of truth and victory for the prosecution”, while defence counsel Kazmi said he was “totally unaware of Kasab’s intentions and he was taken aback by the sudden confessional outburst”.
The confession recording continued during the entire day’s proceedings till 4.45 p.m.
Special Judge Tahilyani is now expected to give his ruling on the next course of action at the scheduled hearing Tuesday.
Eminent lawyers say Judge Tahilyani could now pronounce Kasab guilty, or go through the remainder of witnesses and complete the trial before announcing the terms of punishment.
The only course open to Kasab, lawyers say, is to argue about the quantum of punishment.