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Kasab Verdict A Message To Pakistan: Chidambaram

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said that the conviction of Ajmal Kasab and acquittal of two local accomplices in Mumbai attack case shows India is governed by rule of law but sends a message
PTI May 03, 2010 22:59 IST
PTI

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said that the conviction of Ajmal Kasab and acquittal of two local accomplices in Mumbai attack case shows India is governed by rule of law but sends a message to Pakistan that it should not export terror.

"The court has convicted certain accused. It also acquitted two accused. That shows the independence, fearlessness and integrity of the court," he told reporters reacting to the judgement of a Mumbai special court.

 He said that it was an open trial in accordance with law and full opportunities were given to the accused to defend themselves.

"I am satisfied that within a year we have been able to bring a verdict of conviction of a large number of accused in perhaps a very complex trial.

"The trial undermines the fact that India is a country governed by rule of law. A criminal trial can only proceed step by step and within a year, the prosecution has been able to get conviction," he said.

Asked what was the message for Pakistan, the Home Minister said the judgement "is a message to Pakistan that they should not export terror to India. If they do and if the terrorists are apprehended, we will be able to bring them to justice and give them exemplary punishment".

Meanwhile, former National Security Guards chief J K Dutt, who headed the operation against the Pakistani terrorists during the Mumbai siege, said the judgement convicting Ajmal Kasab meets the ends of justice.  However, the acquittal of two Indians in the case for lack of evidence does not prove their innocence, he said.

'I feel the judgement in the case meets the ends of justice," Dutt said.  Asked about the acquittal of Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, he said they got the benefit of doubt.

'The evidence against them did not go beyond the reasonable doubt. When the evidence is not beyond reasonable doubt, the court gives the benefit of doubt in favour of the accused. It does not mean the accused are not involved," he said.

Dutt said the decision of the court will bring some solace to the families which lost their near and dear ones in the attacks. "The decision of the court will reaffirm the faith of the people in the democratic system," he said.

Dutt headed Operation Black Tornado against the terrorists during the Mumbai carnage.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna  said the conviction of Mumbai terror attacks accused Ajmal Kasab has established the independence of judicial process in the country even as he said it was hoped that the two co-accused were also held guilty.

"It has once again established the rule of law and the independence of judicial process," Krishna said. To a question on the acquittal of two other accused, he said it was hoped that they too would be convicted.

 "We had hoped that on the basis of the evidence that we were able to provide to the trial court that not only Kasab but also the other accomplices would have been convicted. But that the judge has taken a different view, perhaps the Home Ministry will be looking at it," he said. 

He said the government would await the copy of the judgement and "based on their assessment, we will proceed to take further steps." 

To a poser on Pakistan not accepting Kasab as its citizen, he said, "I think Pakistan has accepted," adding, "initially it had not.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan described as a "historic judgement", the conviction of Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab by a special court for his role in the 26/11 terror attack.

"This is indeed a historic judgement and has come in the fastest possible time of nearly a year for which Mumbai police and public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam deserve to be complemented," Chavan told reporters in Delhi.

About the acquittal of two Indians Faheen Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, the chief minister said the government would take a call after they go through the judgement in consultation with the state Home Minister. PTI