Mumbai : The death sentence to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman to be caught alive during the 26/11 terror strike, would “heal the wounds of the survivors and family members of the victims”, a triumphant Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Thursday.
“We completed the entire trial with dignity, examined over 600 witnesses and completed it on time, though some people accused us of delays,” Nikam told reporters after a special court sent Kasab to the gallows for his role in the November 2008 terror attack in which 166 people were killed.
“Terrorists represent no religion,” Nikam said, and called terrorists enemies of humanity.
Describing the case as a challenge, the lawyer said: “The open trial also proves that in our great democratic country, any criminal gets the full opportunity to defend himself in the course of justice.”
The trial, which started April 15, 2009 and was completed March 31 this year, after just seven months of hearings, excluding breaks and vacations, saw Kasab attempt to scuttle it by making false statements, starting from the claim of being a minor and having arrived in India much before the terror attack, Nikam said.
He added that while attempting to save himself, Kasab had resorted to all sorts of antics – “jumping up and down, which would put to shame a monkey in a circus”.
Kasab’s dramatics did not end there. He demanded chicken biryani in jail, and wanted somebody to tie him a rakhi on Rakshabandhan Day last year, Nikam added.
According to Nikam, the court had accepted that it would be very wrong to keep alive a person like Kasab, and referred to the Kandahar hijacking to emphasise the point. The 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane ended with India exchanging three terrorists for the hostages.
“The special court said while awarding the death penalty that the aggravating circumstances were fully present, but there were no mitigating circumstances present from Kasab’s side. Accordingly, he was awarded the appropriate death sentence,” Nikam said.
After the judgement was delivered, Kasab asked for a glass of water and didn’t react. “Even if he shed any tears, they were crocodile tears,” said Nikam.
Kasab’s judgement marks the 38th death penalty the criminal lawyer has won in his nearly three-decade legal career.
Of these, around a dozen have been confirmed right up to the Supreme Court and a few are pending as mercy petitions.
Besides, Nikam has secured over 600 life terms in various cases.
Besides the death sentence, Special Judge M.L Tahaliyani awarded Kasab life term on five other counts and minor punishment starting from six months onwards on various counts.