Ajmal admits to crimeJul 21st, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Lead Story
Mumbai: In a shocking turn to the Mumbai terror attacks case, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ on Monday confessed to his crime before the Special Sessions Court at the Arthur Road jail here.
“Mujhe gunha kabool hai [I admit to the crime]. I want to confess.” The lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks stunned the courtroom with these words, uttered just as the court was preparing to record the evidence of a witness.
Ajmal also mentioned the name of an Indian. He said an Abu Jundal “taught us Hindi.”
Calm and composed, betraying no emotion or signs of agitation, Ajmal spoke for about four hours about the carnage, his training and his first encounter with the Mujahideen in Pakistan.
He began his testimony with a description of his attack at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) along with his partner Abu Ismail. He traced their journey to the Cama Hospital and narrated the encounter at Girgaum Chowpatty.
Ajmal did not mention Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, but he spoke of a ‘Saeed bhai,’ whose office instructed him to go to Shawai Nullah near Muzaffarabad.
The confession shocked the investigators, lawyers and the media alike.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said outside the court that it was the first time that Ajmal had named ‘Jundal’. The police would investigate into it. Calling Ajmal’s U-turn another ploy to mislead the court, Mr. Nikam said it was his ‘intelligence’ training at work.
“Kasab did not name Hafiz Saeed. He confessed because the testimonies and the electronic evidence left him with no choice. However, he did not tell the whole truth; he hid certain offences and pleaded guilty to reduce his sentence. Tomorrow [on Tuesday], the court will decide whether to accept or reject his plea of guilt,” Mr. Nikam said.
When Judge M.L. Tahaliyani asked him why he wanted to confess after all these days, Ajmal said: “I wanted to confess earlier. But, since Pakistan was disowning me, I was not confessing. I have learnt that Pakistan has accepted that I am a Pakistani national and that they are ready to prosecute the offenders. I am [therefore] voluntarily confessing to the charges.”
The confession comes just two days after Pakistan filed a charge sheet against five Lashkar leaders in the 26/11 case. At the end of his testimony, Ajmal said: “It is my request that the sentence is pronounced and the trial concluded.”
PTI reports from Islamabad:
Pakistan said on Monday Ajmal’s statements were “one-sided” and it could not take any action based on the confessions of a person who was “under pressure.”
Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhary A. Mukhtar said: I don’t know how much one can value them [statements] in the court of law.”
“The statements … were made by a person who is under the custody of Indian jail authorities. If he has stood up and given this statement I don’t know under what pressure he was,” he told an Indian television channel.