Ajmal Kasab who was involved in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai – is now in the hands of President Pranab Mukherjee as the Union Home ministry has rejected his mercy petition.
The petition – forwarded by the Maharashtra government after Governor K Sankaranarayanan rejected it – will now go before the President for final action. Kasab’s petition, addressed to the President, written in Urdu, was filed before the state government in September.
A brief official release said that “the Home ministry has only processed Kasab’s mercy petition and submitted it to President for decision.” A senior official of the ministry said it “has been rejected… we have sent our recommendation to the President.”
The Home Ministry rejected the petition as Kasab was involved in a grave crime and waging war against India that led to the killing of 166 people, including foreigners.
The Mumbai carnage took place as a total of 10 terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba arrived in Mumbai by sea from Karachi on November 26, 2008 and went on a shooting spree at the Chatrapati Shivaji railway station and two five-star hotels, carrying out the country’s worst terror attack. Kasab was the only terrorist captured alive as the others were killed by security forces.
The Home Ministry’s action in deciding on the Kasab plea is seen as a swift one as it came in three weeks, while most earlier mercy petitions had taken years. Official sources said since the Governor had rejected Kasab’s petition, it need not be sent back to the state. Thus, it had been forwarded to the President for further action.
Currently lodged in Mumbai’s high-security Arthur Road jail, Kasab lost his case in the Supreme Court in August. The apex court confirmed the death penalty awarded to the LeT terrorist first by a trial court and later upheld by the Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court judgment marked an end to the near-four-year-long legal battle. The 25-year-old Kasab’s clemency plea will be added to the 11 others (of 16 life convicts) that are pending before the President which he inherited from his predecessor Pratibha Patil. The Constitution does not stipulate a deadline for the President to act on mercy pleas.
This is the second time that the Home ministry has decided a mercy plea swiftly – it recommended, in 1996, the rejection of the mercy plea in 32 days of a Rajasthan villager convicted of killing his family members