In a report datelined 2:15 AM of Nov 21, IE wrote:
President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday rejected the mercy petition filed by Ajmal Kasab, the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist sentenced to death for his role in the November 26, 2008 terror attack on Mumbai.
The decision was taken following the advice of the union home ministry, a highly placed source told The Indian Express. “All the papers have been signed,” the source said.
Mukherjee’s decision comes nearly two months after the Maharashtra home department rejected Kasab’s mercy petition that had been addressed to the President. The department’s recommendation was sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan through the state chief minister’s office and the union home ministry.
India informed Pakistan on Tuesday that President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petition of the surviving 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab and a death warrant had been issued in the name of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist.
The Indian High Commission in Pakistan also requested the Pakistan foreign ministry to convey the same information to Kasab’s family or allow it to contact them.
Top government sources said that all due procedures of law were followed in hanging Ajmal Kasab but the entire operation was done in secrecy as the Manmohan Singh government could have come under unwarranted pressure from the international community and the media.
At 8:22 AM TOI reported:
Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Ajmal Kasab, accused for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, was today hanged at Yerwada Jail in Pune at 7:30 am after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.
Home minister Sushil Shinde said: “Kasab was hanged at 7:30 am. President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the Kasab’s mercy petition on November 6. President signed the Kasab’s death sentence file on November 5 and I also signed it on November 8. Later, on November 8, it was decided that Ajmal Kasab will be hanged on November 21.”
According to Maharashtra home minister R R Patil: “26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition was rejected on November 8. He also confirmed that Kasab was hanged at about 7:30am on Wednesday.
DNA does background:
It may be recalled that the visit by the Pakistan interior minister Rehman Mallik due to begin on November 22, was cancelled at the last minute as India did not want to host a Pakistani delegation at the time of the execution which was pre-decided soon after the President rejecting Kasab’s mercy plea.
Once a mercy plea is rejected by the President, the case goes back to the trial court, which then takes into account the Supreme Court upholding its death sentence order. The trial court then sets up a date for the hanging. However, in this case, the decision may been taken on the prison officer’s level itself, thus opening a debate on the issue.
Sentenced to death by the Bombay High Court in last October, Kasab was convicted on charges ranging from treason to waging war against India. His appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down in August.
The hanging of the Mumbai attacker a day before the winter session of the Parliament is expected to provide a temporary succour to the government facing a no-confidence motion against it.
It is now time to consider the changes since November 2008. Has the average Indian become more secure? Are Pakistani elements as able to launch attacks on Indian targets?