Mumbai attacker admits guilt

2009-07-20 13:01

Mumbai - The lone surviving gunman in the November Mumbai attacks admitted his role in the shooting rampage on Monday in a dramatic confession in an Indian court, reversing months of denials.

Ajmal Kasab stood up during his trial at a special court set up to try him and addressed the judge. "Sir, I plead guilty to my crime," he said, triggering a collective gasp in the courtroom.

Judge ML Tahiliyani, who also was apparently taken aback, called lawyers from both sides to figure out the significance of Kasab's statement.

A total of 166 people were killed in the attacks by 10 gunmen in Mumbai, India's financial capital, that began on November 26. It ended three days later with troops storming the Taj Mahal Hotel where some gunmen were holed up.

It was not immediately clear what prompted Kasab to make the statement after consistently denying he was guilty.

"Everybody in the court was shocked the moment he said he accepts his crime. It was unexpected," public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.

Harish Salve, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, said it was not clear if Kasab confessed voluntarily. "I am sorry to play the party spoiler. But I hope he doesn't come the day after and give it another twist," he said.

If the confession holds up in court it will be a big boost to India's claims that terrorist groups in Pakistan were behind the attack, and that Islamabad was not doing enough to clamp down on them.

The allegations have severely strained relations between the two nuclear-armed archrivals.

Pakistan has acknowledged the Mumbai attacks were partly plotted on its soil.

In his lengthy statement, Kasab gave details of his group's journey from Pakistan on a boat, their subsequent landing in Mumbai, and the bloody rampage that followed as the gunmen shot and killed people at a railway station, a Jewish centre and two five-star hotels, including the Taj Mahal.

Kasab was arrested after a shootout with police on the first day of the attacks. He was treated for wounds and has since been held in solitary confinement in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail.

Monday's development came days after Pakistan gave a dossier to India with details of its investigation into the terrorist groups that New Delhi claims were responsible.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Basit declined to comment on Kasab's court admission.

Late last month the special court also issued arrest warrants for 22 Pakistani nationals accused of masterminding the attacks. India blames Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The founder of the group, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, was arrested with two other senior figures by Pakistani authorities in December.

However, a court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore in June freed Saeed, a hardline Islamic cleric, saying there was no evidence against him. The federal government will appeal the verdict.

Read more on:    india  |  mumbai attacks

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency towards setting your expectations too high which will result in disappointment. Try not to let your thoughts...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.