Days after a Pakistani gunman captured in last year's terror strikes in
Mumbai made a dramatic confession in an Indian court, a judge has
ordered his trial to continue - despite his admission of guilt. The
suspect is one of the extremists who mounted terror strikes in India's
financial hub last year, killing 166 people.
M.L. Tahiliyani said Thursday he will accept the detailed confession
made by 21-year-old Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, regarding his role in last
year's terror attacks in Mumbai.
However, the judge told the
prosecution to continue lining up witnesses to testify against Kasab,
saying his trial will continue.
Earlier this week, Kasab took
lawyers by surprise when he changed his plea to guilty and admitted
that he sprayed gunfire at Mumbai's main train station after arriving
in the city from Pakistan with other nine other gunmen. Kasab was the
only one captured alive.
The defense had said that, if the plea was accepted, the trial should end and a sentence delivered.
Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says the judge has called Kasab's
confession only a partial admission of guilt, and says the suspect has
not admitted to all 86 charges against him. These include murder and
waging war against India.
"The statement of Kasab admitting his
guilt can be used at an appropriate stage. In fact, the court has also
noted that Kasab did not admit all the charges, but he has admitted
partly, and court has further ordered that Kasab's plea of admission of
guilt - that can be considered only when the prosecution completes its
case," said Nikam.
There was more drama in court Thursday,
when the defense lawyer said he did not want to continue, because his
client had no faith in him. Kasab had caught his lawyer by surprise
when confessed in court. The judge has asked them to sort out their
Kasab has told the court he pled guilty because he
would rather be hanged in this world than face God's punishment in the
next. He has said he did not want mercy from the court and that he
understands the implications of his confession.
The prosecution had argued that Kasab changed his plea from innocent to guilty to secure a more-lenient sentence.
capture of Kasab and Islamabad's admission that he was a Pakistani
citizen has helped India bolster its case that the attacks were planned
and executed by a terror group based in Pakistan.