`Evidence, not confession, nailed Kasab`

Chidambaram said conviction of Kasab proved present laws were adequate to deal with terror.

Last Updated: May 06, 2010, 22:58 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Rejecting BJP`s demand for a specific anti-terror law, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said conviction of Ajmal Kasab in Mumbai attack case proved that present laws were adequate to deal with the menace.

However, the government is open to "revisit" the laws if
necessary.

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning
of his ministry, Chidambaram said conviction of Kasab, lone
surviving terrorist involved in Mumbai attack in 2008, was not
on the basis of his confession but evidence.

"This was not only oral evidence but a wealth of material that was painstakingly gathered. We were able to reconstruct the path (of the 10 attackers) from Karachi to Mumbai. We were able to track mobile phone conversations within hours of the attack," the Home Minister said.

In this context, he said, the amended Unlawful Activities
(Preventions) Act (UAPA) proved adequate for the prosecution
and there was no need for separate provisions, as suggested by
the BJP.

"For the present, laws are adequate. They have broad
support of all sections...Let`s try these acts. If necessary,
we can always revisit them," he said.

He noted that through the use of technology, investigators "were able to retrieve material from damaged mobile phones. In a way, this was phone tapping," he said in a reference to the controversy that rocked parliament on the alleged phone tapping of prominent politicians.

Speaking about the course of the trial, he said: "We did not create a Guantanamo Bay. We did not create a military court. Kasab was tried in a normal civil court, except that the judge was designated a special judge." He said the trial was over in 12 months.

The absence of the provisions in the UAPA, as suggested by
the BJP, did not prevent success of Kasab`s trial, the Home
Minister said.

The main Opposition had wanted provisions like
admissibility of confession before a police officer, detention
without trial of an accused for 180 days and denial of bail by
judge if prosecution opposes it.

Chidamabaram said while he has respect for the views of
the BJP, a large sections of the society, particularly
minorities and SCs/STs had rejected these ideas as they feared
their misuse against them.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said though Kasab`s
conviction was a landmark event, he was disappointed because
there were several other accused in the case living in
Pakistan and the US from where not much cooperation is
forthcoming.

He said BJP had serious reservations whether the present
laws were enough to face the terror challenge. After such an
enormous crime like the Mumbai attack, "is the Home Minister
willing to introspect whether the present legal infrastructure
is adequate?"

-Agencies inputs