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The apex court passed the order on the petition filed by Kasab challenging Bombay High Court's verdict upholding the trial court's judgement convicting him and awarding death sentence in the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, saying that waging war against the country was the primary and foremost offence committed by the Pakistani terrorist, reports PTI.
A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay High Court. The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case.
The bench also observed that the failure of government to provide him an advocate at the pre-trial stage did not vitiate trial court proceedings against him.
It also held that the confessional statement given by Kasab, which he retracted during trial, was very much voluntary except a very small portion.
Kasab along with nine other Pakistani terrorists had landed in south Mumbai on 26 November 2008 night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks, in which 166 people were killed.
While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group were killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations.
The apex court also upheld the acquittal of two Indians, who were alleged to be co-conspirators in the Mumbai terror attack case.
The trial court and Bombay High Court had also given clean chit to Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case.
The bench held that evidence showed that the conspiracy and planning of the 26/11 carnage was hatched in Pakistan.
Reacting to the verdict, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to defend Kasab, said, "I bow down to the apex court verdict."
The apex court passed the order on the petition filed by Kasab challenging Bombay High Court's verdict upholding the trial court's judgement convicting him and awarding death sentence in the 26/11 case.
The bench had reserved its verdict on 25th April after a marathon hearing, spanning over two-and-a-half months of arguments by the prosecution and defence counsel in the case.
Kasab, during arguments in the apex court, had contended that he was not given a free and fair trial and that he was not part of any larger conspiracy for waging war against India.
He had told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case had been violated during the trial.
The apex court had stayed Kasab's death sentence on 10th October last year.
In the special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay High Court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he did not deserve the death penalty keeping in view his young age.
Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in western Indian city of Mumbai, had filed the SLP through the jail authorities.
He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on 6 May 2010.
The Bombay High Court had upheld on 21st February last year the trial court's order of death sentence to the Pakistani terrorist for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilizing" the government here.
Kasab's death penalty was upheld on charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The high court had confirmed Kasab's conviction on 19 counts under the IPC, the Arms Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Passport Act and the Railway Act.
The AC buses plying on the BEST network in Mumbai, known as King Long buses, are in fact manufactured by JCBL in Mohali and have nothing to do with the Chinese bus maker, except few parts here and there
Commuters travelling by the AC buses run by the BEST Undertaking in Mumbai are furious at learning that the King Long buses that cost around Rs40 to Rs45 lakh are not even made in China but in our own Mohali and that too by a local manufacturer using few parts from the Chinese company. Mumbai Mirror revealed this today after an RTI application.
“Investigations carried out by this paper have revealed that King Long buses, sold to us as top-of-the-line Chinese import, are not King Long buses at all. The purple buses you see breaking down every now and then have nothing to do with the Chinese bus maker Xiamen King Long United Automotive Co, except a mechanical part here and there. The rickety clunkers that have given the usually efficient BEST a bad name are Cerita buses put together by an Indian company JayCee Coach Builders (JCBL) at Lalru, Mohali in Punjab,” the newspaper said.
Transport experts are also furious at this blatant lie and misuse of a brand name. “This (the revelation) is undoubtedly a terrible stuff. As a large buyer of buses, BEST should take due care in the specifications, technical audit for all the buses that it buys,” says Ashok Datar, a transport expert.
"We need to understand the cost of so called King Long buses and what would be the cost of actual King Long buses," says Mr Datar, adding that there is definitely a need that Mumbai can get a number of low cost but good quality AC buses. "AC buses, in addition to the luxury high end buses, costs about Rs1 crore. Investment in such buses is equal to Rs3 lakh per seat which is more than Rs2 lakh per seat for an ordinary AC car. We know that for a bus, cost of interest, depreciation and employees works out to be about 2.5 times that of fuel cost. Hence cost of a bus is more important than the cost of fuel," he said.
Uttam Khobragade, the then GM of BEST, labelled these AC buses as ‘King Long’
During the inauguration ceremony on 15 December 2007, both the then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Uttam Khobragade, the then GM of BEST referred to these buses as King Long, says Mumbai Mirror. "Interestingly, though the first bus carried the Cerita logo on its nose, it was not clearly visible because of the elaborate floral decoration. The media - both print and electronic - lapped up the Chinese connection and in those days, when Shanghai was Mumbai's aspiration, the lie suited everyone," the report says.
For years Mumbai has been sold the lie of these haphazardly put-together vehicles with a ridiculously high incidence of breakdowns—4,037 in two-and-a-half years for 285 buses—boasting of a Chinese lineage, the newspaper report said.
Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), which manages the public transportation on city roads has been lying throughout the years, officially and unofficially about these problematic AC buses. Speaking with Mumbai Mirror, BEST General Manager OP Gupta, who took over recently, admitted that the 285 buses known for their poor performance in his AC fleet are Cerita and not King Long. “Yes, these are Cerita buses and not King Long. Their warranty period has expired and we have taken a decision to not buy any of these buses ever again. In fact, when I took over, I stopped delivery of 38 of these buses that still had to be acquired,” he told the newspaper.
Following a fire mishap in 2010, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) decided to rest all its fleet of about 15 of these so-called King Long buses. Similarly, these buses while plying in Mumbai also faced same situation, one at Cadbury Junction in Thane and another near Huma Ad Labs on LBS Road. But BEST still continues to ply these buses across the city.
An activist who has campaigned for an efficient school bus system in Mumbai, says, "In order to encourage usage of public transport, an efficient public transport service is an absolute necessity. The fleet of buses, therefore should, most certainly be safe, durable and comfortable for the public to avail of this service. BEST are now in deficit of buses in their fleet, therefore the facility offered to the public is also greatly insufficient!"
Khobragade, the then GM of BEST when these AC buses were introduced in services, told the newspaper that since the matter is too old, he can't remember the specifics.
A retired IAS officer who has worked with Khobragade says, "I agree that Khobragade is 'corrupt' and may have conspired on the King Long deal. But the question is will the Government prosecute him?"
According to news reports, last month around 100 King Long buses were used during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. About 10 XMQ6127 buses were even appointed as franchised vehicles by Olympic partner Samsung Company to serve OCOG officials, athletes, referees and volunteers.