In a surprising development, the only suspect put on trial for last year's terror attacks in Mumbai has retracted his confession.
Speaking during his trial in Mumbai, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab reversed his earlier remarks and denied killing anyone during the November 2008 siege of India's commercial capital.
Kasab, the only suspect taken into custody in India following the attack, in which more than 160 people died, now says he made his confession after being tortured by police during his 20 days in their custody.
Indian television channels have previously aired video of Kasab in a hospital bed apparently confessing soon after the attacks and telling investigators he had joined the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Kasab, in July, admitted in court to killing 50 people at a commuter rail station during the 60-hour siege and said he wanted to be hanged. Now, he claims, he was not there.
His lawyer, Ejaz Naqvi, confirmed to reporters his Pakistani client has totally retracted his role in the elaborate terror attack.
Naqvi says Kasab contends he came to Mumbai 20 days before the attacks and was apprehended by police on the first night of the siege as he was strolling on a beach and has been framed by the authorities.
Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says he was not surprised that Kasab, who he calls a trained military commando, has recanted his partial guilty plea. He says the turnaround will not have a big impact on the trial.
"I have examined, in all, 610 witnesses and therefore this Kasab U-turn is not going to affect our case at all," he said. "Let Kasab take as many as false stands and the plea in his statement because he does not know as to how we have adduced strong and clinching evidence against Ajmal Kasab."
Indian authorities say Kasab and nine other Pakistanis opened fire at a pair of luxury hotels, a major train station, a cafe popular with tourists and a center for foreign Jewish visitors. All of the other gunmen were killed.
The attack scuttled peace talks between nuclear-armed rival neighbors India and Pakistan. Islamabad has since acknowledged the raid was planned on its soil. A Pakistani court last month charged seven people, including a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, for their involvement plotting the terrorist act in India.