New Delhi: In a major development, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the petition of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab challenging the Bombay High Court judgment upholding his death sentence.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay High Court.

Confessional statement of Kasab was very much voluntary: SC

The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case.     The bench also observed that the failure of government to provide him an advocate at the pre-trial stage did not vitiate trial court proceedings against him.

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It also held that the confessional statement given by Kasab, which he retracted during trial, was very much voluntary except a very small portion.

Kasab along with nine other Pakistani terrorists had landed in south Mumbai on November 26, 2008 night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks, in which 166 people were killed.

While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group were killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations.

The Apex Court also upheld the acquittal of two Indians, who were alleged to be co-conspirators in the Mumbai terror attack case.
    
The trial court and Bombay High Court had also given clean chit to Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case. The bench held that evidence showed that the conspiracy and planning of the 26/11 carnage was hatched in Pakistan.
    
Reacting to the verdict, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to defend Kasab, said, "I bow down to the apex court verdict."

The apex court passed the order on the petition filed by Kasab challenging Bombay High Court's verdict upholding the trial court's judgement convicting him and awarding death sentence in the 26/11 case.

The bench had reserved its verdict on April 25 after a marathon hearing, spanning over two-and-a-half months of arguments by the prosecution and defence counsel in the case.
    
Kasab, during arguments in the apex court, had contended that he was not given a free and fair trial and that he was not part of any larger conspiracy for waging war against India.
    
He had told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case had been violated during the trial.
    
The Apex Court had stayed Kasab's death sentence on October 10, last year.
    
In the special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay High Court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he did not deserve the death penalty keeping in view his young age.
    
Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai, had filed the SLP through the jail authorities. He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010.

Bombay HC verdict

    
The Bombay High Court had upheld on February 21 last year the trial court's order of death sentence to the Pakistani terrorist for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilizing" the government here.
    
Kasab's death penalty was upheld on charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
    
The High Court had confirmed Kasab's conviction on 19 counts under the IPC, the Arms Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Passport Act and the Railway Act.

JPN/Agencies/Midday

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