Ajmal Kasab’s execution was one of the most secret operations carried out by the city police. Late on Monday, as the city was returning to normalcy after the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, the police transferred 25-year-old Kasab from Mumbai to Pune in a special flight, under heavy security.
On November 5, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected a mercy petition from Kasab and two days later, the home ministry decided the date for Kasab’s execution and informed the state government of this. Only 16 officials knew about the entire operation, codenamed Operation X.
In early November, as the Yerwada jail in Pune was being readied for the execution, Kasab had a health check-up, the standard procedure before a hanging, in Arthur Road Jail in central Mumbai. At that time, the police told the media the medical tests were required as Kasab was suffering from dengue.
On November 12, when Kasab was informed he would be executed by November 21, he asked the police to inform his mother in Pakistan about the hanging, adding he had no other wish. Police said after Kasab was hanged this morning, he was buried in the Yerwada jail premises. The move was aimed at avoiding fundamentalist groups making a shrine for the terrorist in India. A judge, the Yerwada jailer and a jail doctor, along with a posse of policemen, witnessed the hanging.
On November 26, 2008, Kasab, along with nine terrorists, landed in Mumbai, after their journey from Pakistan in a stolen boat. Once in Mumbai, the terrorists launched attacks on Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House. Kasab and a fellow gunman killed about 40 people on platform 13 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The duo later killed three senior police officers near St Xavier’s College lane. Later, as Kasab tried to escape in a stolen car near Chowpatty beach but he was arrested by the police. He later told the police the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, had recruited him to carry out the attacks in Mumbai.
On February 26 2009, the police charged Kasab with murder and waging war against India. In a special court set up in Arthur Road Jail, the prosecution filed about 11,000 pages of evidence. During the trial, Kasab told the court he was ready to be executed: “If I am hanged for this, I am not bothered. I don’t want any mercy from the court,” he said. In his confession, Kasab revealed several details on the attacks and on his life in Faridkot in Pakistan. He also provided details on how the Lashkar-e-Toiba had trained him to use AK-47s, rocket launchers, grenades and mortars.
On May 3, 2011, judge M L Tahiliyani of the special court found Kasab guilty of all the 86 charges against him, including murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against India. Three days later, the court sentenced Kasab to death for his role in the attacks. With the Supreme Court upholding the sentence, Kasab was finally hanged today, just four days before the fourth anniversary of the Mumbai attacks.