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26/11 trial: Kasab changes mind on pleading guilty

26/11 trial: Kasab changes mind on pleading guilty

Author: PTI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 7, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/26/11-trial-Kasab-wants-to-plead-guilty-to-all-charges/articleshow/4867196.cms

Hours after informing a court that he wanted to plead guilty to all the charges framed against him in connection with the 26/11 blasts, prime accused Ajmal Kasab changed his mind and said he did not want to say anything.

When asked by special judge M L Tahailiyani why he said he wanted to plead guilty in the morning session of the court, Kasab replied, "Yun hi (Just like that)."

The court then asked if he was being influenced by someone to admit his guilt, but the Pakistani gunman said he was not.

When the judge asked him whether he wanted the trial to go on, 22-year-old Kasab replied: "Ji haan, aapki marzi se (Yes sir, with your permission)."

As judge Tahaliyani expressed surprise over Kasab's behaviour, defence counsel Abbas Kazmi said it was due to the auspicious day of 'Shab-e-baraat (night of blessings)' which Muslims observed on Thursday night. On this day people believe that if you confess, you are forgiven by god, Kazmi told the court.

Later, Kazmi told reporters that Kasab was frustrated and was under the impression that a verdict will be given if he pleads guilty to all charges.

"I have explained to him that despite his pleading guilty to all charges the trial will go on because there are two other accused in the dock," Kazmi said.

In the morning when a witness was being examined, Kasab stood up in the dock and told Tahaliyani that he wanted to plead guilty.

However, the court felt that Kasab was being very vague about his admission of guilt and was asked to talk with his lawyer before doing so.

Outside the court, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Kasab was a great actor and had not only obtained military training from conspirators in Pakistan, but had also received training on how to mislead others.

"The moment we informed the court that FBI officials will be examined as witnesses, Kasab got up to say he wanted to plead guilty to all charges," he said.

This was done by Kasab to save his masters in Pakistan and it showed that the gunman did not want the prosecution to table evidence which FBI has collected in this case, Nikam claimed.

"Kasab's act will not affect the case and we shall conclude the trial within a month," he said.

Kasab had admitted his guilt before the court last month, but the court had decided to take the admission of guilt on record and continue with the trial.

The Pakistani gunman was reprimanded by the court on Thursday after he refused to accept food served by jail authorities and threw utensils given to him allegedly demanding he be served 'mutton biryani'.

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