26/11: SC to hear intercepted talks of terrorists
Hearing an appeal of Mohd Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole convict of the carnage, against his death sentence, the court today said it would hear the intercepts tomorrow at 2 pm in the presence of counsel appearing for Kasab and the Maharshtra government.
Former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Maharshtra government, said there was no problem in playing the conversation in the court and all arrangements would be made for the bench to hear the same.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad decided to listen to the conversation since the prosecution submitted that it was an important piece of evidence.
The prosecution had earlier told the court that the intercepts among the ten terrorists and their handlers in Pakistan established that the terror attack in Mumbai, in which 166 people were killed, was "pre-planned and pre-arranged."
The apex court was told that evidence in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case involving Kasab and nine slain terrorists clearly showed it to be a "pre-meditated" assault on the country`s commercial capital by Pakistani terrorists, guided by their handlers from across the border.
"From the diary and intercepts of telephonic conversation between the terrorists and their handlers, three things are clear that the attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 was pre-meditated involving ten terrorists who were from Pakistan," Subramaniam and Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had said while seeking the apex court`s endorsement of the death sentence awarded to 24-year-old Kasab.
Subramaniam had said that the diary recovered from the boat, Kuber, used by the terrorists to reach Mumbai, disclosed that they had come together and on reaching the city, they got divided into five groups with specific targets.
The prosecution said while the attack was launched at the Hotel Taj at the Gateway of India, the terrorists were interacting with their Pakistani handlers and the intercepted conversation clearly showed that they (handlers) asked them (terrorists) as to "why they did not sink the Kuber boat".
Subramaniam said the Pakistani handlers also sought confirmation about the killing of the navigator of Kuber, Amar Singh Solanki, who was beheaded by Kasab. The diary also disclosed that Kasab was known by the name Mujaheed to other terrorists.
The prosecution said on reaching Budhawar Park, Kasab and other Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Abu Ismaile took a taxi and proceeded towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Railway Station which bore the major brunt of their design.
Subramaniam had said while proceeding towards the CST in a taxi, Kasab planted a bomb beneath the driver`s seat which exploded after they alighted from the vehicle. He said Kasab and his associate fired indiscriminately at the CST, killing 52 people.
Kasab has pleaded with the Supreme Court to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. The apex court had on October, 10 last year stayed the death sentence of Kasab.
In the special leave petition (SLP) challenging the Bombay High Court judgement, which had confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the heinous crime in the name of "God" and that he does not deserve capital punishment owing to his young age.
Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai, had moved the SLP through the jail authorities.
Kasab, along with nine other Pakistani terrorists, had landed in south Mumbai on November 26, 2008 night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks. While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group had been killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations. He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010.
The Bombay High Court had on February 21, last year, upheld the trial court`s order of death sentence to Kasab for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilising" the government.
Kasab`s death penalty was upheld on charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The high court had upheld Kasab`s conviction on 19 counts under the IPC, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Foreigners Act, Passport Act and Railway Act.