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.”
Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman
Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.
“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.
India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.
On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.
“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.
The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.
Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.
“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.
Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.
“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.
The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.
Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”
Keep trying, truth can’t be extinguished: Rahul’s dig at PM
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidaar” campaign drew barbs from the opposition after BJP leaders rushed to add “chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the truth “cannot be extinguished”.
“You can keep trying Modi, but the truth cannot be extinguished. Every Indian is saying it. #ChowkidarChorHai P.S: Do force Sushma ji to add “Chowkidar” to her handle. It’s looking very bad,” he posted.
Minutes after PM Modi added “Chowkidar” to his twitter title, BJP leaders and ministers followed suit. From Union minister Arun Jaitley to party chief Amit Shah, and even foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, added “Chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.
Along with Congress, the leaders of other parties took a dig at PM Modi and his party.
Priyanka draws inspiration from grandmother Indira to ‘be fearless’
Prayagraj: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is in Uttar Pradesh campaigning for the party, is drawing inspiration from her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who taught her to be fearless.
“Sitting in the courtyard of Swaraj Bhawan, the room is visible where my grandmother was born,” she tweeted late on Sunday, while spending sometime in the 19th century mansion here. The ancestral home was owned by her great-great grandfather, Motilal Nehru.
The 47-year-old recalled how her grandmother often rocked her to sleep with the bedtime story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl from medieval France, who believed God chose her to lead France to victory in its Hundred Years War with England. She succeeded and is honoured as the Maid of Orleans.
“I still have those words imprinted in my heart. Become fearless and all will be good,” she added.
Party president Rahul Gandhi appointed his younger sibling as the eastern in-charge of Uttar Pradesh on January 23.
The fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family still at the helm of the party is striving hard to win the Hindi heartland state.
Priyanka Gandhi has embarked on a Prayagraj to Varanasi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency) boat ride on the river Ganga, making small pit stops and meeting crowds on the banks.