By: Aarti Surkule
Name of the Case: Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab vs. State of Maharashtra
Citation: (2012) 9 SCC 1
The terrorist attack that took place in Mumbai on 26th November 2008 was really monstrous. On this day, 10 members of Lashkar-e-taiba entered Mumbai city illegally through the Arabian sea. Those 10 members attacked various popular places of Mumbai like the Leopold Cafe, the Oberoi Trident hotel, the Taj Hotel, the Metro Theatre, and the CST (Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) Railway Station.
The first attack was done on CST Railway station. Secondly on the Leopold café, and then on the Taj Hotel of Mumbai.
The journey of these terrorists was started in a boat from Karachi, Pakistan. Then they brought control over vessel MV Kuber. Later, as they reached Mumbai they killed Mr Amar Singh Solanki who was the captain of that vessel. After reaching Mumbai the terrorists were divided into 5 groups. On 26th Nov 2008 at about 9.15 PM the attack was started.
In this attack, nearly 166 people were killed including 26 foreigners. Furthermore, 238 people were seriously injured. Also, the attack completely destroyed the property of millions worth. Ajmal Kasab was among those 10 members who were arrested alive. The remaining 9 were shot dead in the encounter.
The purpose of this attack in India was to promote a war against the Government of India. The attacks were organized from Dec 2007 to Nov 2008. It was taught to the terrorists that such works are right for Jihad and though they die in such heinous missions they would get a place in heaven.
Their main aim was to make the Government of India weak from the inside so that they can acquire Kashmir. Hence, their target was to attack big cities of India.
- Whether the appellant got a free and fair trial under Article 21 of the Constitution of India before his conviction or not?
- Whether the appellant confessed without any inducement under Section 164 of CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) or not?
Ajmal Kasab was the appellant from Pakistan nation. He had earned five death penalties for himself. He has committed various horrific crimes in India.
There were many charges against him. They were as followed – unlawful plan for waging a war against the Indian Government which was extremely harmful, collection of arms for the purpose of war, encouraging war situation, commission for acts of terrorist, conspiracy for committing murders of various people, robbery to hurt someone or to cause the death of someone.
Furthermore, they are also punishable under the Explosive Substance Act, 1908 for causing explosions. The appellant was found guilty of all the crimes cited above. Hence, he was given the life sentence on 5 counts and also the death sentence on 5 other counts.
Furthermore, he was also awarded various lighter sentences of imprisonment.
Trial Court Judgment for Sabauddin Ahamed and Fahim Ansari:
Salahuddin Ahamed and Fahim Ansari were two other accused of Indian nationals. Apart from the appellant, they both were brought before the trial court and was charged for those same crimes as that of Ajmal Kasab( the appellant).
The judgment and order were passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge in the Greater Mumbai in Sessions in the Case No. 175 of 2009. According to that judgment Sabauddin Ahamed and Fahim Ansari were acquitted of all the charges.
Initially, concerning the conspiracy charges and also the offence of helping another person for committing a crime, the trial court had given them the benefit of the doubt. Later, it was held that the prosecution failed to find the other charges which were made against them.
Judgment of the High court:
The above judgment that was given by the trial court initiated a reference to the Bombay High Court. It was registered as Confirmation Case No. 2 of 2010 under Sec 366 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Along with this reference, due to the order and judgement which was passed by the trial court, more two appeals came to the High Court. One was from the appellant that was against his conviction and sentences of Criminal Appeal No. 738 of 2010.
Another was against the acquittal of the other two accused which was from the State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 606 of 2010).
On 21st Feb 2011 the Hon’ble High Court fixed the sentences of death which were given to the appellant by the trial court and also dismissed both the appeals stated above. In this way, the High Court supported the order and judgment of the trial court.
As a result, the conviction of the appellant was sustained. It also made confirm the punishments that were given to him by the trial court. However, there was no interference made with the acquittal of the other two accused.
Appeals of Kasab and the State of Maharashtra:
The High Court upheld the order and judgement of the trial court. Then the two appeals had come to the court. One appeal was a Jail appeal which was by Ajmal Kasab. Another appeal was made by the State of Maharashtra.
The appeal of Maharashtra State was challenging the acquittal of the other two accused which was given by the trial court and supported by the High Court. In the appeal of the State of Maharashtra, the other two accused (Sabauddin Ahamed and Fahim Ansari) were impleaded as Respondents No. 1 and Respondents No. 2.
Ajmal Kasab was not represented in the appeal that was preferred by him from the jail and this Court. Hence, a senior advocate — Mr Raju Ramachandran was appointed. Mr Ramachandran was assisted by Mr Gaurav Agrawal for representing him.
Due to this, he was able to get legal assistance which is not even available to various Indian nationals who approach this Court against their conviction.
As per the prosecution, the planning of the attacks was done in Pakistan. Accordingly, 10 terrorists entered Mumbai through the Arabian Sea.
The attack started on 26th Nov 2008 at 9.15 PM and ended up on 29th Nov 2008 at 9.00 AM when the last terrorist was killed by Indian security forces at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace. The terrorists had killed 166 people which included 18 policemen along with other security personnel and also 26 foreign nationals.
238 people were injured including 37 policemen and other security personnel and 21 foreigners. The property of about Rs. 150 Cr was destroyed. Of those dead, a minimum 7 were killed by Kasab. Further, more than 72 people were killed by him as an advancement of the common intention which he had shared with one Abu Ismail who was deceased accused No.1. Other accused were victims of the conspiracy.
Kasab was also one of the members along with the dead 9 accused. More than 35 accused were brought to court.
The case of the prosecution is constructed as per the investigations done by the police and also from the confessional statement of the appellant which was recorded under Sec 164 of the CrPC.
The confession of the appellant:
The confession of the appellant is divided into 2 parts –
- Related to the planning, conspiracy and preparation for the attack.
- Related to the implementation of the planning, conspiracy of the attack.
The planning of the attack was made in Pakistan. In reality, the attack was performed in Mumbai on 26th November 2008 under the guidance of the appellant i.e., Ajmal Kasab with the support of his “buddia” which means his associates. Abu Ismail was one of his associates.
Every statement which was made by the appellant is corroborated again and again to find the pieces of evidence gathered by the prosecution. But as the planning was done in Pakistan, it was not possible to make an investigation there in Pakistan.
In spite of this, the investigation was done and investigators had gathered various evidence. The evidence was also supporting the confession of the appellant. Hence, it was convenient to present the case of the prosecution by starting with the confessional statement of the appellant.
The death penalty was given to the appellant Ajmal Kasab by the Trial Court. But Kasab challenged this judgment in the HC. But HC didn’t accept the plea of Kasab and supported the judgment of the Trial Court of the death penalty.
Finally, Kasab appealed before the SC. But on 29th Aug 2012, the SC also upheld the judgment of the lower courts i.e., the Trial Court and the HC.
India’s President Mr Pranab Mukherjee rejected the Mercy Petition which was filed by Kasab on 5th Nov 2012.
Finally, Ajmal Kasab was hanged to death in complete secrecy on 21st Nov 2012 at 7:30 AM at Yerwada jail in Pune.
The attack that took place in Mumbai City on 26th Nov 2008 is recognized and known as the ‘26/11 attack’.
This was the first time when any terrorist who was considered as the mastermind of this monstrous crime was captured alive. This case study is consisting of a detailed analysis of Ajmal Kasab and how he was hanged.