A slight figure in cargo pants and sneakers and a blue sweatshirt, gun-wielding Ajmal Kasab was the face of the horrific Mumbai terror attack and the key to unravel the conspiracy hatched in Pakistan.
The images of Kasab ambling cockily--a backpack on his shoulders and an AK-47 dangling carelessly--captured on camera at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) on the deadly night of November 26, 2008 formed hard evidence of his ruthless act and eventually led to his conviction.
Kasab, 21 at that time, was the only gunman caught alive after 10 men from Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) struck during a 60-hour-siege of the country's financial capital.
Hailing from an impoverished Faridkot village in Okara district in Pakistan's Punjab province, Ajmal Kasab many times during the legal proceedings described himself as a patriotic Pakistani and that he had no remorse for waging war against India. His father was a food vendor.
"I have done right, I have no regrets," he is quoted as having said.
He, however, pleaded leniency on purported ground that he was brainwashed by LeT and acted like a robot.
Ajmal Kasab came under the influence of LeT while he was an unemployed youth and after training in one of several remote camps in Pakisan he was hand-picked for the Mumbai operation.
In a meticulously planned terror attack on November 26, 2008, Kasab and nine others left Pakistan and entered Mumbai via sea.
The group split into pairs and stormed two luxury hotels--Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident--CST station, a Jewish religious centre, and Leopold Café in south Mumbai. In their indiscriminate firing, 166 people including 18 foreigners were killed and scores injured.
While it is reported that he told the police that he was trained to "kill to the last breath when he was arrested, he pleaded with the medical staff: "I do not want to die. Put me on saline".
Later, after interrogation in the hospital by the police, he said: "Now, I do not want to live", requesting the interrogators to kill him for the safety of his family in Pakistan who could be killed or tortured for his surrender to Indian police.
Kasab is also reported to have told the police that he and his associate Ismail Khan, were the ones who shot Anti-Terror Squad(ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte.
Judge M L Tahaliyani, who conducted the Mumbai attack trial, said "he(Kasab) should be hanged by the neck until