PUNE: After nearly four years, Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving Pakistani gunman involved in the Mumbai attacks, was hanged to death at the Yerawada central prison Wednesday morning in a top-secret operation.
Kasab was buried inside the premises of Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail shortly after he was hanged, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
“Ajmal Kasab was hanged at 7.30am,” Maharashtra home minister R R Patil said in Mumbai shortly after the hanging. Pakistan government was kept informed about the execution.
The execution in the Mumbai attack trial brought closure to many in the audacious strike by 10 terrorists of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in which 166 people were killed. Nine LeT men were killed during the 60-hour siege which began on the night of November 26, 2008.
The prison authorities remained tight-lipped about the details of hanging performed in a well-guarded secret operation amid reports that Kasab did not have any death wish.
Kasab was executed after he exhausted all legal remedies available to escape the noose with President Pranab Mukherjee rejecting his mercy plea following the advice of the Union home ministry.
There was, however, no official word or briefing by the jail authorities on the last rites of the hanged convict.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Pakistan was informed about the execution of Kasab.
“With the execution of Kasab, we have completed the judicial procedure of 26/11 case.” Shinde said in Delhi.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad informed Pakistan government about Kasab’s hanging through letter, he said, adding Pakistan refused to take the letter, which was then sent through fax.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the obligation of keeping Pakistan informed about the hanging was fulfilled.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who appeared for police in the case said the hanging is a “victory” for the country.
“Attack on Mumbai was an attack on the entire country,” Patil said.
“By Kasab’s conviction and death penalty, we have proved how the entire conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. We have set an example that India will not tolerate such attacks and the accused will be brought to justice,” Nikam told reporters in Mumbai.
A group of Shiv Sena workers raised slogans ‘Vande Mataram’ slogans outside the Yerawada jail hailing the hanging of Kasab and demanded that similar justice be meted out to Parliament attack case death row convict Afzal Guru.
Kasab had been lodged in the Arthur Jail Road in Mumbai ever since he was arrested immediately after the attack in 2008. He was convicted and given capital punishment by the trial court on May 6, 2010 which was upheld by the Bombay High Court on February 21, 2011.
The Supreme Court subsequently upheld the sentence on August 29 this year.
Kasab and the other gunmen entered Mumbai by boat on November 26, 2008. Carrying mobile phones, hand grenades and automatic weapons, they fanned out across Mumbai targeting luxury hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident, a Jewish centre Chabad House and the city’s main train station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST).
Rs 29.5 crore spent on Kasab in 4 years
Both central and Maharashtra governments have spent around Rs 29.5 crores on Ajmal Kasab to provide him food, security, medicines and clothes during his confinement in Arthur Road Central prison here, official sources said.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) deployed around 250 guards for Kasab in the prison since his arrest in November 2008 till October 2012 and expenditure on this count worked out to Rs 26 crore.
Maharashtra government spent around Rs 3.47 crores on Kasab including food (Rs 42,313), security (Rs 1,46,81,794), medicines (Rs 39,829) and clothes (Rs 1,878).
The state government also incurred an expenditure of Rs 2 crores on building a bullet and bomb proof cell especially for Kasab in the central prison at Arthur Road.
The cell was connected to the specially made court (also bomb and bullet proof) by a tunnel which was fortified with iron walls and ceiling to ward off any terrorist strike with bombs.
This is for the first time that such a bomb and bullet proof cell has been made in the prison. This would also serve as a permanent place for any dreaded terrorist or dangerous accused who gets caught and has been put on trial, sources said.
ITBP commandos stood as guards in and around the Arthur road central prison for nearly four years to keep a watch on Kasab, who unleashed terror in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, at the instance of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Hangman paid Rs 5,000
The hangman who executed Kasab was paid Rs 5,000 for the job.
“Earlier, the hangman used to get Rs 10. Now it is Rs 5,000. Although we had received several applications from persons expressing their willingness to do the job for free, the government felt it would be best if an authorized person does it,” Patil said.
Before Kasab, the last person to be executed in Maharashtra was in 1995, Patil said.
Patil also clarified that the state government would not be bearing the expenditure incurred by the security cover provided to Kasab by the ITBP personnel.
“We had earlier also said that the central government should bear the expense as the attack was not just on Maharashtra but on the entire nation. We have not yet received any response from the Centre,” Patil said.