The Bombay high court will pronounce its verdict on the death sentence to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole captured terrorist in the 26/11 attack, and the state government’s appeal against the two acquitted accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, on Monday.
The division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice RV More has heard arguments from the prosecution and the defence lasting over a period of 45 days. The prosecution argued that the trial court had rightly convicted Kasab and handed him the death penalty on four grounds. It also contended that the court had wrongly acquitted Ansari and Sabauddin. They were part of the conspiracy hatched in Pakistan by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), it argued.
Kasab is presently lodged at the high-security Arthur Road prison. He was allowed to appear in court through video-conferencing.
However, Kasab made light of the proceedings on the first day by smiling at the camera and making funny gestures on the screen. On another day, he spat on the screen when told to behave during the proceedings.
His lawyers, Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah, who went and met him in prison, moved an application before the court stating that Kasab wanted to attend the proceedings personally in the court. However, due to the heightened security threat to his life, the plea was turned down.
During the hearing of the state’s appeal against the two, the government argued that the target maps, which were found from Kasab’s bag and Abu Ismail’s pocket, were prepared by Ansari and sent to LeT in Pakistan through Ahmed whom he had met in Nepal.
The duo’s lawyer argued that they were falsely framed and had no role to play in the Mumbai terror attack. The Mumbai crime branch had only arrested them because they were arrested in Uttar Pradesh in another terror case where the police had found some Mumbai maps on Ansari’s possession.
If the high court upholds the death sentence of Kasab, he has the option of moving the Supreme Court against the verdict. The apex court will then go through the entire evidence recorded at the time of the trial again. After that, he can appeal to the president of India for pardon.