SC reserves order on Kasab plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved its order on Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab`s plea challenging his conviction and death sentence in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad reserved its verdict after a marathon hearing, spanning over two and a half month, of arguments by the prosecution and defence counsel in the terror mayhem, which involved random firing by Kasab and other mercenaries, killing 166 people.

During the argument, Kasab contended that he was not given a free and fair trial and that he was not the part of any larger conspiracy for waging war against the nation.

He had also maintained that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him beyond doubts and told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case had been violated during the trial.

25-year-old Kasab, had filed the appeal from jail challenging his conviction and death sentence. The apex court had appointed senior advocate Raju Ramachandran as amicus curiae to argue on behalf of Kasab. .

Former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had earlier told the bench that 26/11 Mumbai terror attack was carried out with a "calculated" design, aimed at causing communal tension in the country by projecting that it was the handiwork of Indian Muslims. The apex court had stayed Kasab`s death sentence on October 10 last year.

In his special leave petition (SLP) challenging the Bombay High Court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he does not (rpt not) deserve the death penalty due to his young age.

Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai, had filed 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, in which 166 people were killed.

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 upheld on February 21 last year 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, the Arms Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Passport Act and the Railway Act.