Mumbai : The last words of Ajmal Amir Kasab said to senior police inspector Ramesh Mahale were, “Aap jeet gaye, main har gaya [you won, I lost].” The admission came in November 2012, a day before Kasab would be hanged to death for being guilty of 80 offences, including waging war against India. It marked the end of an association that began at Mumbai’s Nair Hospital, where Mahale had first questioned Kasab after the latter was captured by the Mumbai Police on November 26, 2008.
Mahale, now retired, was the chief investigator of the 26/11 attacks and headed Mumbai’s crime branch Unit 1 in 2008. Kasab was in the crime branch’s custody for about 81 days before being shifted to a specially-made, bulletproof, high security cell in Arthur Road Jail. “Till the time he was handed a death warrant by the court, Kasab believed he would get a leeway from Indian laws,” said Mahale, who retired in 2013.
Kasab fascinated Mahale, who quickly realised that the 21-year-old’s defences couldn’t be cracked using tough interrogation methods. “We made Kasab feel comfortable and easy and waited for him to break on his own,” he said. Mahale’s small acts of kindness included giving Kasab two new outfits.
One day, after having spent about a month and half in custody, Mahale got an unexpected insight into Kasab’s thought process. “I was having a conversation with Kasab when he said though he could be hanged for his crime, it wouldn’t happen because the Indian justice system abhorred the death penalty,” recalled Mahale. Kasab gave him the example of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and said, “He hasn’t been hanged even eight years after the Indian courts pronounced his death sentence.” Mahale kept quiet that day.
Kasab would surprise the investigators on numerous occasions, like when he was asked to record his statement in court, near the end of the trial. “Kasab told the court that he was a Pakistani national who came to Mumbai on a valid visa to catch a glimpse of Amitabh Bachchan. He said he was standing outside the star’s Juhu bungalow when sleuths from Research and Analysis Wing picked him up and handed him over to the Mumbai police. The cops … shot him in the arm before putting him in lock up. Four days later, they [police] fixed him in the 26/11 case,” recounted Mahale. By this time, Mahale, having interrogated Kasab, was used to the terrorist spinning stories.
“He never gave straight answers to our questions,” said Mahale.
On November 11, 2012, a special court issued Kasab’s death warrant. The then police commissioner Dr. Satyapal Singh handpicked Mahale as one of the special team that would shift Kasab to Yerwada Jail in Pune where he would be hanged to death on November 21. At midnight on November 19, Mahale went to fetch Kasab from his cell. He chose that moment to remind Kasab how the Pakistani had been certain he’d evade the death penalty. “Yaad hai? Char saal bhi nahin hua. Ab aur saat din baki hai [Remember what you said? It hasn’t even been four years. There’s still a week left],” Mahale told Kasab.
Kasab replied with, “Aap jit gaye, main har gaya [you won, I lost].” He didn’t speak a word during the three and a half hour journey to Pune. “The exuberance and confidence in him had been replaced by the fear of death,” said Mahale. Recalling the morning of November 21, when Kasab was hanged, Mahale said, “It was one of happiest moments in my life when I learnt his death. Justice had been done, the evil was dead.”
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.
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