Mumbai/Pune, Nov 21 : Pune: After nearly four years, Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving Pakistani gunman involved in the Mumbai attacks, was hanged to death at the Yerawada central prison here this morning in a top-secret operation.
Kasab was buried inside the premises of Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail shortly after he was hanged, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
“Ajmal Kasab was hanged at 7.30am,” Maharashtra home minister R R Patil said in Mumbai shortly after the hanging. Pakistan government was kept informed about the execution.
The execution in the Mumbai attack trial brought closure to many in the audacious strike by 10 terrorists of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in which 166 people were killed. Nine LeT men were killed during the 60-hour siege which began on the night of November 26, 2008.
Kasab had been lodged in the Arthur Jail Road in Mumbai ever since he was arrested immediately after the attack in 2008. He was convicted and given capital punishment by the trial court on May 6, 2010 which was upheld by the Bombay High Court on February 21, 2011.
The Supreme Court subsequently upheld the sentence on August 29 this year.
Kasab and the other gunmen entered Mumbai by boat on November 26, 2008. Carrying mobile phones, hand grenades and automatic weapons, they fanned out across Mumbai targeting luxury hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident, a Jewish centre Chabad House and the city’s main train station Victoria Terminal now CST.
A special inspector general of police in Maharashtra and 16 handpicked men oversaw Operation X leading to the death by hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab Wednesday.
The process was quietly initiated shortly after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Kasab’s mercy plea Nov 5, official sources said.
The chosen team’s mission was to hang and bury the 25-year-old Kasab in complete secrecy in Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail, where he would be moved from Mumbai.
Once Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde signed the file from the president’s office on Nov 7 and sent it to the Maharashtra government the next day, the police team took charge.
Only a handful knew that Kasab would hang on Nov 21 morning.
These included Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, earlier the Pune police chief, and Meeran Borwankar, who heads the Yerawada jail, and those at the helm in the state intelligence department and Mumbai CID.
Yerawada is one of the two jails in Maharashtra — the other being Nagpur Central Jail — where hanging facilities are available.
Pune’s proximity to Mumbai played a role. An expert hangman was summoned.
On Nov 12, Kasab had been told of his impending hanging by a jail staff in Mumbai.
According to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Kasab was quietly shifted from Mumbai to Pune Nov 19.
He was taken on a special flight late at night to reach Pune early Nov 19 and whisked off to the Yerawada jail.
He requested that his mother be informed, and indicated he had no last wish. He did not want to make a will or any final testament.
As Home Minister R.R. Patil put it, after completing all legal niceties, Kasab was executed at 7.30 a.m. Wednesday.
Just 15 minutes later, the Operation X chief conveyed to the state home department that the task was “successfully completed“.
There was, however, no official word or briefing by the jail authorities on the last rites of the hanged convict.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Pakistan was informed about the execution of Kasab.
“With the execution of Kasab, we have completed the judicial procedure of 26/11 case.” Shinde said in Delhi.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad informed Pakistan government about Kasab’s hanging through letter, he said, adding Pakistan refused to take the letter, which was then sent through fax.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the obligation of keeping Pakistan informed about the hanging was fulfilled.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who appeared for police in the case said the hanging is a “victory” for the country.
“Due process of law has been followed,” Patil said, adding that hanging was carried out after President Mukherjee rejected Kasab’s mercy petition on November 8. He said Kasab did not have any death wish.
“This is a true homage to the innocent victims, including policemen and security personnel, who laid down their lives,” he said.
“Attack on Mumbai was an attack on the entire country,” Patil said.
“I do not think there will be any trouble (if Kasab is buried in India) because India has suffered too much and everyone…. and this country has seen the tragedy. 166 people were killed after there days fight against humanity,” he said.
Khurshid said India did not get any request from Pakistan for handing over the body of Kasab.
Nikam said by hanging Kasab the country has paid homage to all those policemen and innocent persons who lost their lives.