26/11: Kasab says wasn’t part of core conspiracy

Kasab claimed he was not part of the 26/11 attacks conspiracy hatched in Pak by LeT and argued his confession recorded by a magistrate should be discarded as they were contrary to each other.

Updated: Nov 30, 2010, 00:49 AM IST

Mumbai: Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab
today claimed he was not part of the 26/11 attacks conspiracy
hatched in Pakistan by LeT and argued his confession recorded
by a magistrate and plea of guilt made before the trial court
should be discarded as they were contrary to each other.

The arguments were made by Kasab`s lawyer Amin Solkar
before justices Ranjana Desai and R V More of the Bombay High
Court who are hearing confirmation of death sentence awarded
to him by the trial court for his role in the 26/11 terror

The defence lawyer argued that there was no material
to suggest that Kasab was part of the conspiracy relating to
attacks on Hotel Taj Mahal, Hotel Oberoi-Trident and Nariman
House. His role was confined only to attacks at Chhatrapati
Shivaji Railway Terminus and in and around Cama Hospital.

"At the most, it can be said that Kasab had performed
the role of a contract killer and could be held responsible
for the death of persons at CST and in surrounding areas,"
Solkar argued.

The basic thrust of arguments by the defence lawyer
was to minimise the role of Kasab in the conspiracy and aim at
commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Kasab had no role to play in the attacks on hotels Taj
Mahal, Oberoi and Nariman House and there is no evidence to
this effect, Solkar submitted.

Kasab did not appear today on the screen put up in the
court for the video conference link to enable him to hear
arguments from jail.

Solkar said when an accused makes a confession it
could result in conviction. Similarly, when a guilt plea is
made before the court it should be considered like confession.

In this case, Kasab has made a confession as well as
guilt plea. Both these confessions were contradictory to each
other and should not be accepted because they create doubts as
to which one should be believed, he argued.

Pointing out the contradictions in confession and
guilt plea of Kasab, Solkar said Kasab had admitted before a
magistrate that he had killed Amarsing Solanki, navigator of
fishing trawler Kuber through which terrorists arrived in
Mumbai by sea route. He also admitted to have killed police
officer Tukaram Ombale in an encounter at Chowpatty.

However, in the guilt plea, Kasab denied having killed
Solanki and Ombale. He had told the trial court that he was
not aware who killed Solanki and that he had seen slain
terrorist Shoaib coming out of boat`s cabin with a knife
smeared with blood and throwing it in the sea.

In the guilt plea, Kasab had also said that outside
Cama Hospital he and Abu Ismail were under attack from police
officers in a jeep and that before he could retaliate the
policemen fired at him because of which he sustained injury in
hand. He also blamed Ismael for killing officers Hemant
Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte.

In the guilt plea, Kasab said that at Girgaum
Chowpatty, constable Tukaram Ombale had caught hold of his
collar and pulled him out of the car in which he was seated
with Ismael. Kasab further said he was surrounded by policemen
who assaulted him and he fell unconscious. When he gained
consciousness he was in hospital.

However, in confession before a magistrate Kasab had
admitted to have killed Ombale.

Denying role of Kasab in the conspiracy, his lawyer
said at the most it can be said Kasab had executed the
conspiracy and that he could be charged for murders like any
other contract killer.

To substantiate his argument, Kasab`s lawyer Amin
Solkar referred to Supreme Court Judgement in Rajiv Gandhi
assassination case in which Nalini Singh was an accused.

Solkar said in Nalini Singh`s case, the Supreme court
had laid down four categories of conspiracy -- core planning,
aiding and abetting, being part of conspiracy and executing it
and lastly executing the conspiracy. Kasab fell in the fourth
category, he argued.

To establish a conspiracy there has to be meeting of
minds and there is nothing to suggest this aspect in Kasab`s
confession, he argued. The only material relied upon by the
prosecution was Kasab`s confession before a magistrate which
he retracted later and also contradicted it in his guilt plea.

The court is currently hearing confirmation of death
penalty given to Kasab for his role in dastardly attacks.

Kasab`s appeal against his conviction is yet to come
up for hearing while government would argue later on its
appeal against acquittal of co-conspirators Faheem Ansari and
Sabauddin Ahmed.