`Court erred in partially accepting Kasab`s confession`

The trial court had erred in partially accepting Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab`s confession before a magistrate, government counsel Ujjwal Nikam told the Bombay High Court Wednesday.

Updated: Nov 24, 2010, 22:50 PM IST

Mumbai: The trial court had erred in
partially accepting Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab`s confession before a magistrate, government counsel Ujjwal Nikam told the Bombay High Court Wednesday.

A confession should be accepted in toto and not
partially, Nikam told justices Ranjana Desai and R V More who
are hearing arguments on confirmation of death sentence
awarded to Kasab for his role in 26/11 attacks.

"Kasab`s confession was true and voluntary but its
value did not deteriorate only because it was given in the
magistrate`s chamber and not in open court," he argued.

Normally, a confession is recorded in open court and
not in magistrate`s chambers but in this case it was not in
the open court, he said before summing up arguments.

Nikam said during cross examination of the magistrate
concerned, Kasab`s lawyers had not asked reasons for recording
his (Kasab`s) confession in the chambers and not in open
court.

Such provision for recording confession of an accused
in the open court has been made in law so that he should not
allege later that the magistrate had pressurised him to
confess, the counsel submitted.

In this case, Kasab had not made any such allegation
that he was pressurised by the magistrate. The only thing he
mentioned during the trial was that he wanted to confess and
had requested the court to record his confession in jail. But
at no point of time did Kasab say that he wanted to confess in
open court, he argued.

Nikam further pointed out that Kasab`s act of
retracting his confession in the court was an "after-thought"
and "well advised".

Although Kasab had said in his retraction that he had
been pressurised by police to give confession to magistrate,
he did not offer any such suggestion to investigating officer
Ramesh Mahale during the latter`s cross-examination in the
trial, he argued.

Even such a question (of not recording confession in
open court) was not put to the magistrate concerned who was
also cross examined by Kasab`s lawyers in the trial, Nikam
told the court.
There is lot of corroborative evidence to show that
Kasab had given true and voluntary confession, he said.

Nikam today wound up arguments on confirmation of
death penalty imposed on Kasab by the trial court. Kasab`s
lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah would open arguments
tomorrow on the issue.
Thereafter, the court would hear Kasab`s appeal
against his conviction and also appeal filed by the government
against the acquittal of LeT suspects Faheem Ansari and
Sabauddin Ahmed on the ground of "doubtful evidence".

On May 6, the trial court had awarded death sentence
to Kasab for his role in killing 166 people in terror attacks,
in Mumbai, on November 26, 2008.

PTI