New Delhi: Union Home Ministry on Tuesday recommended the rejection of the mercy petition of Pakistani terrorist and 26/11 lone survivor Ajmal Kasab. Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has welcomed the development, saying "President has to study the recommendation of MHA. It's a positive phase in the case. It's a good development." K Unnikrishnan, NSG martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan's father, said, "I am happy that we did not make a mistake. I am very sure that President will take a decision very soon."
A top Home Ministry official said Kasab's mercy petition has been dismissed as he was involved in a grave crime and waging war against India that led to killing 166 people, including foreigners. The 25-year-old Pakistani and nine other fellow Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists had landed in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 by sea from Karachi and had gone on a shooting spree at various places, carrying out the country's worst terror attack. While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists were killed by security forces.
Kasab's mercy petition was sent to the Home Ministry by the Maharashtra government last month after rejecting the plea. A brief official release said, "the Home Ministry has only processed Kasab's mercy petition and submitted it to President for decision".
After nearly a four-year-long legal battle, on August 29, the Supreme Court had confirmed the death penalty awarded to the LeT operative by the trial court and later upheld by the Bombay High Court. Upholding Kasab's conviction, the apex Court had said that he killed without "the slightest twinge of conscience".
The Pakistani gunman is currently lodged in the bomb-proof and an egg-shaped cell at the high-security Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. After the Home Ministry's recommendation, it is now left to President Pranab Mukherjee to take a final decision on Kasab's mercy plea. There are more than a dozen mercy petitions pending before the President for final decision which include Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.
(With additional inputs from PTI)