Twists and turns of Mumbai court drama

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Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab was found guilty in May 2010 of murder and waging war on India during the 2008 attacks on Mumbai (Bombay), and executed on 21 November 2012. The BBC summarises the twists and turns in the 14-month-long trial that gripped India.

TRIAL BEGINS: 23 MARCH 2009

As the trial began for Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, he appeared on a video link from a high security jail and confirmed he was from Pakistan's Punjab province and asked for a lawyer.

Construction was already underway for a custom-made high-security facility to try him in.

LAWYER SACKED: 15 APRIL 2009

Qasab's legal counsel was removed from the case almost as soon as it opened.

Anjali Waghmare was alleged to have also signed to represent a victim of the attacks.

Abbas Kazmi, a top criminal lawyer from Mumbai, was appointed to replace Anjali Waghmare.

RELAXED IN COURT: 15 APRIL 2009

Qasab appeared relaxed in court in an early stage of proceedings. He is reported to have greeted the presiding judged and smiled throughout the proceedings. He told the judge: "If I have to tell you something, I will inform my lawyer."

He appeared curious about the reporters present, made gestures to the special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam and tried chatting with a fellow defendant, Mr Ansari, until he was told to keep quiet by the judge.

CONFESSION WAS 'COERCED': 17 APRIL 2009

Qasab retracted a confession made earlier. His lawyer said it was extracted through coercion and force. The confession he withdrew was earlier read in court.

NOT GUILTY PLEA: 6 MAY 2009

Main Qasab charges

  • Waging war on India
  • Murder
  • Conspiracy to murder
  • Destabilising the government
  • Kidnap
  • Robbery
  • Smuggling and possessing illegal arms and explosives

Qasab described himself as a labourer from Faridkot in Pakistan's Punjab province.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges set out against him.

He told the court: "It's all wrong. I'm not guilty."

During the day's proceedings Qasab was asked to confirm his age as 21. His defence had previously tried to argue he was under 18 and should be tried as a minor.

Qasab sparked laughter in the courtroom when he said if the prosecutor had believed his earlier answer he would not now be in this court.

SMILING DEFENDANT REPRIMANDED: 12 MAY 2009

The presiding judge issued a sharp warning to Qasab to refrain from smiling during the trial. He was reprimanded on the day that various witnesses described the death of police officer Tukaram Omble at a checkpoint in Mumbai.

Correspondents say the judge showed his annoyance when he said: "I have noticed he [Qasab] always laughs when Omble's name is mentioned and the incident is talked about."

Mr Omble was killed during the gun battle in which Qasab was finally overpowered and taken into custody.

YOUNGEST WITNESS SPEAKS: 10 JUNE 2009

Ten-year-old Devika Rotawan was the youngest witness during the trial. On crutches, as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attacks, she calmly identified Qasab as the gunman on the platform.

Qasab is reported to have looked down throughout the proceedings. But her anguished father cried out: "He is the one because of whom my daughter might never have a good future. Hang him, kill him."

BEREAVED MOTHER TESTIFIES: 11 JUNE 2009

There was unrest in court on the day that 23-year-old Nafisa Qureshi described how her six-year-old daughter died in her arms after being shot in the back by gunmen at the railway station. Her father could not contain himself from shouting out: "Listen to me. What about the fact that my daughter died?"

Qasab also complained that he had been made to stand before witnesses prior to them giving evidence so that they would identify him as the attacker when they testified.

WEEPING IN THE DOCK: 15 JUNE 2009

Qasab laid his head down and wept on the day the photographer who took the renowned picture of Qasab brandishing a gun, took the stand. Qasab's lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, said his client was not feeling well.

Sebastian D'Souza identified Qasab as one of the men who fired on commuters at Mumbai's crowded railway station. When asked to identify the defendant, Mr D'Souza said: "How can I forget him? He has made me famous."

LETTER TO MECCA: 10 JULY 2009

On the day of the dramatic testimony of policeman Sadanand Date, who described hand-to-hand combat with the attackers outside Mumbai's Cama hospital, Qasab asked the judge if he could send a letter to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Qasab's lawyer told the court that he was not aware of what it was that his client wanted to write, or if there was anybody in particular he wanted to send the letter to.

QASAB SWITCHES PLEA : 20 JULY 2009

Qasab stands up before the court to say he admitted his role in the killings. It is not clear why he changed his plea after pleading not guilty in May to all charges.

He said there had been no pressure on him to confess and it had been his decision to do so.

Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said: "We were not expecting this. We were all shocked when he made a plea of guilt.

'HANG ME': 22 JULY 2009

Qasab told the court he was ready to be hanged after admitting his role in the violence.

His outburst came as prosecutors said he had changed his plea to guilty to secure leniency.

TRIAL TO PROCEED: 23 JULY 2009

The judge ruled that the trial of Qasab will continue despite his admission of guilt.

Qasab's confession will go on record but it does not address all 86 charges he faces, Judge ML Tahiliyani said.

CONFESSION RETRACTED : 18 DECEMBER 2009

Qasab retracted his earlier confession. He said he had been forced by police to confess after being repeatedly beaten up - adding that he was not the man seen in pictures wielding an assault rifle during the attacks

LAWYER REMOVED : 30 DECEMBER 2009

Qasab's main lawyer was removed from the case - the second lawyer to be dismissed.

The judge said that Abbas Kazmi was "not co-operating" and was delaying proceedings. The disagreement appears to be over cross-examination of witnesses. Mr Kazmi has since filed a complaint against his removal in Mumbai's high court.

DEFENCE LAWYER KILLED: 11 FEBRUARY 2010

The defence lawyer for one of three men accused of involvement in the attacks in 2008 was shot dead in Mumbai.

Shahid Azmi represented Indian Fahim Ansari who was subsequently acquitted of charges of involvement.

Police say they do not believe that Mr Azmi's death was connected to the trial.

TRIAL CONCLUDES: 31 MARCH 2010

Qasab remained quiet throughout the proceedings. He simply nodded when the judge told him he would pass judgement on 3 May.

QASAB FOUND GUILTY: 03 MAY 2010

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab sat silently in the courtroom as he was found guilty on charges including murder, waging war on India and possessing explosives.

Even as he stood up when the judge addressed him in Hindi, and all attending media struggle to discern some expression from him - the attacker gave nothing away.

QASAB APPEAL REJECTED: 21 FEB 2011

The high court in Mumbai upholds the death penalty on Qasab.

Rejecting his appeal against the sentence, the judges said Qasab was guilty of waging war against India, multiple murder and conspiracy.

QASAB SUPREME COURT APPEAL BEGINS: 31 JAN 2012

Qasab takes his case before the Supreme Court.

"I have been wrongly held guilty because I was denied a fair trial. I was denied a counsel," Qasab said in a statement read by his court-appointed lawyer Raju Ramachandran.

"The prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against me... I may be guilty of killing people and carrying out a terrorist act but I am not guilty of waging war against the state."

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS QASAB DEATH PENALTY: 29 AUG 2012

The Supreme Court upheld his death sentence and judges also rejected his claim that he had been denied a fair trial.

"In view of the nature of the gravity of his crime and the fact that he participated in waging war against the country, we have no option but to uphold his death penalty," Supreme Court Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad ruled.

A spokesman for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said there should be "no delay" in executing Qasab. "Those who wage war against the country and kill innocents deserve no mercy," he said.

QASAB APPEALS FOR MERCY TO PRESIDENT: 18 SEPT 2012

Qasab appealed for mercy to the president of India.

His mercy petition was sent to President Pranab Mukherjee's office by the administration of the Arthur Road jail where he was lodged.

PRESIDENT ADVISED TO REJECT QASAB'S MERCY PETITION: 23 OCT 2012

India's home ministry recommended that the president reject the clemency plea of Qasab.

An official told the Press Trust of India the plea should be rejected given the "grave crime".

PRESIDENT REJECTS QASAB'S MERCY PETITION: 5 NOV 2012

President Pranab Mukherjee rejects Qasab's mercy plea.

Two days later, federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde signed his execution order.

QASAB EXECUTED: 21 NOV 2012

Qasab is hanged in Pune's Yerawada jail. Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil said he was executed at 0730 India time (0200 GMT).

"This is a tribute to all innocent people and police officers who lost their lives in this heinous attack on our nation," Mr Patil said.

Qasab was buried inside the jail, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

Pakistan had been informed of the execution, Indian official said, as had his family.

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