Kasab had Confessed Voluntarily: Magistrate

Mumbai, Sep 30 (IANS) Giving a boost to the prosecution case in the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial, a magistrate told the special court here Wednesday that captured Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab had voluntarily confessed to his crimes in February.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rama V. Sawant-Wagule, in a rare deposition by a top legal functionary, said that Kasab was remorseless when he voluntarily confessed before her Feb 20-21, nearly three months after the Nov 26, 2008 terror attacks.

The voluntary confession was made with the intention that it could "inspire" other terrorists, said Sawant-Wagule.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the prosecution had specially made Sawant-Wagule its witness, since Kasab had retracted his confession before her at the start of the trial in April this year, claiming it was made under duress.

Sawant-Wagule told Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani that when Kasab was produced before her for the first time Feb 17, he had expressed a desire to confess.

After recording his initial statement, she allowed him 24 hours to think it over and remanded him to a day's custody.

When Kasab was brought before her the following day (Feb 18), she asked him whether he was making the confession under any pressure. Kasab had replied in the negative and said that he had decided on the night of his arrest (Nov 27) to confess and inspire others like him, Sawant-Wagule said.

At this, Sawant-Wagule inquired whether Kasab had any complaints or grievances against police or anybody else, to which he responded in the negative. Again, she gave him another 48 hours to make up his mind before confessing.

"After questioning him, I was satisfied that Kasab was not confessing under any duress and was doing it voluntarily. I subsequently recorded his confession," Sawant-Wagule told Special Judge Tahilyani.

The confession recording started Feb 20 morning and ended at 4.30 p.m. the next day. "As he spoke certain words in Urdu, the confession was recorded in a question-answer format," she added.

According to Nikam, the confession made before Sawant-Wagule is a critical piece of evidence in which Kasab went into details of the 26/11 terror attacks and the conspiracy behind it.

"He also mentioned his role in it, the kind of training the terrorists received at various locations, the masterminds behind the incident including the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafeez Mohammed Saeed, LeT's chief of operations Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the role of the nine other terrorists and other aspects," he pointed out.

All the pages in the confession carry Kasab's and Sawant-Wagule's signatures. Sawant-Wagule was shown the confession document and she recognised it as the same that Kasab had made before her Feb 20-21.

Expressing satisfaction, Nikam said that Sawant-Wagle's deposition had further strengthened the prosecution's case, and would prove vital to the trial.


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