The Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, rejecting his plea to commute the sentence handed down to him by the Bombay High Court to life imprisonment.
Kasab (25) is the only terrorist caught alive during the terror attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 that killed 166 people. His nine accomplices were all killed.
The top court observed that the primary and foremost offence that Kasab was charged with was waging war against India and "We are left with no option but to uphold the sentence."
The court went so far as to say that the conspiracy was masterminded in Pakistan. It was "crystal clear that the conspiracy was hatched by Pakistanis", a bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad said.
The court rejected Kasab's contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case. The bench observed that the failure of the government to provide him with an advocate at the pre-trial stage did not vitiate trial court proceedings against him. It also held that the confessional statement given by Kasab, which he retracted during trial, was very much voluntary except for a very small portion.
In the special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay High Court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he did not deserve the death penalty keeping in view his young age.