Nikam says Kasab-biryani story was cooked up
Speaking at a global conference on counter terrorism here, Nikam said he had prosecuted all kinds of criminals and terrorists, but had never come across someone like Kasab. “He not only knew how to handle sophisticated weapons, he knew how to interact with media and how to draw its attention through his facial expression and body language,” said Nikam.
After the conference, Nikam told TOI that he had to ‘fool’ the media in the interest of the case.
The public prosecutor recalled that during the trial, once Kasab bowed his head and wiped his eyes. “Soon, electronic media broke the news: ‘tears in Kasab’s eyes’. It was Raksha Bandhan that day, and some speculated that Kasab got emotional in memory of his sister. Some even went on to question whether he was a terrorist or not,” Nikam said.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who secured terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s conviction in the 26/11 case. (TOI photo by Sanjay Hadkar)
“When I came out of the court one day, reporters asked me my first reaction on why Kasab was crying. I simply said he was demanding mutton biryani. Some channels went on to question the government for giving Kasab mutton biryani,” said Nikam.
Nikam stressed the need for the investigation agencies to work closely with prosecution in terror-related cases. “In India, the role of prosecution comes at a very late stage, after the police files the chargesheet. However, in the West, the prosecution steps in on the day of the incident itself,” said Nikam, adding that prosecutors guided investigators in the 9/11 case.
He said the biggest challenge in 26/11 case was to establish criminal conspiracy. “I closely worked with the investigators and stressed that our focus should not be on the 10 terrorists, but the larger conspiracy to establish who the masterminds behind the attacks were,” said Nikam.