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Posted on Nov 21, 07:34PM | IANS
In what will be remembered as one of the fastest trials in India, lower courts, the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court ensured that the case of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab was closed as soon as possible, albeit after a fair trial.
Kasab, who was caught alive during the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, was hanged in Pune's Yeravada Central Jail Wednesday morning after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.
An injured Kasab was caught Nov 27, 2008, and confessed to his role in the mayhem.
After being treated in a Mumbai hospital, he was moved to the Arthur Road Jail in January 2009. The following month, he again confessed before a magistrate to his role in the attacks.
The trial began in a sessions court April 17, 2009, under Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani, now the principal sessions judge.
The prosecution charged Kasab on 86 counts, including the murder of 166 people.
Kasab, however, pleaded not guilty to those charges May 6, 2009. Then, on July 20, 2009, he pleaded guilty to all charges.
On December 18, 2009, he said he was framed and his confession was obtained by torture. He said he came to Mumbai 20 days before the attacks and was roaming at Juhu beach when police arrested him.
The trial concluded March 31, 2010, and May 3 Judge Tahaliyani pronounced Kasab guilty of murder, conspiracy and of waging war against India.
On May 6, 2010, he was given the death penalty.
However, when the case came up for hearing in the Bombay High Court Oct 18, it was decided that Kasab would be allowed to follow the court proceedings only through video-conferencing and only if he pleased.
The Maharashtra government's counsel Ujjwal Nikam, who appeared in the trial in the special court which had awarded Kasab the death sentence, formally opened the arguments seeking confirmation of that verdict before the high court.
As the arguments on confirmation of his death sentence began, Kasab presented a happy-go-lucky picture.
Nikam started with terming the attacks as state-sponsored and said these were executed by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The high court bench of Justice Ranjanaa Desai and Justice Ranjit More heard Kasab's appeal against the death penalty and in their verdict February 21, 2011, upheld the sentence given by the trial court.
On July 30, 2011, Kasab moved the Supreme Court, challenging his conviction and sentence. The bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice C.K. Prasad stayed the orders of the high court so as to follow the due process of law, and started hearing the case.
On August 29 this year, Kasab was found guilty of waging war and was sentenced to death, following which he sent a mercy petition to President Pranab Mukherjee, who rejected the plea Nov 5.