The union home ministry has recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to reject the mercy petition filed by Ajmal Kasab,the lone surviving terrorist of 26/11,clearing the way for the execution of his death sentence.
Under the constitution,the ministry’s advice is binding on the President; he can at best ask for a reconsideration of the recommendation once. The President is expected to formally reject Kasab’s plea soon.
Should he do so,Kasab’s would be the first mercy petition that Mukherjee would have decided after becoming President in July. He is yet to take decisions on 12 other petitions,including that of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru,that he inherited from his predecessor Pratibha Patil.
A senior home ministry official on Tuesday said that it had been recommended that Kasab’s petition be rejected because the Pakistani terrorist had been involved in the grave crime of waging war against India,which had led to the killing of 166 innocent people including foreigners.
On August 29,nearly four years after the attacks,the Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence given to Kasab. Upholding Kasab’s conviction,the apex court had said that he had killed without the slightest twinge of conscience.
The 25-year-old,who was among the 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists who had sailed from Karachi to land in Mumbai on November 26,2008,and gone on a shooting spree at multiple locations had,within days of the Supreme Court judgment,filed a mercy petition to the President’s office through the superintendent of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail,where he is currently lodged,requesting that his death sentence be commuted to life.
The Maharashtra government,whose view was sought by the home ministry,had recommended that the mercy plea be dismissed.