Kasab flip-flops on pleading guilty

MUMBAI: The lone surviving gunman from last year’s Mumbai attacks told a court today he wanted to confess to all 86 charges against him - but minutes later reversed himself and said he would stick with his earlier partial confession.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, confessed last month to taking part in the three-day November siege that paralysed India’s financial capital and killed 166 people. The court, however, ordered that the trial against him continue because his statement did not address all the charges.

Today, the Pakistani said he wanted to plead guilty to all the charges, which range from murder to conspiracy to wage war against India.

Judge ML Tahiliyani, who heads the special court trying Kasab, asked him to discuss his plans with his lawyer before making any decisions.

Minutes later, Kasab returned to court to say he had changed his mind and his earlier confession would stand.

In his confession, Kasab admitted spraying gunfire into the crowds at Mumbai’s main train station, but denied killing four policemen, whose deaths remain touchstones of grief and anger in India.

This is not the first time Kasab has reversed himself in court.

Last month, he pleaded not guilty to the 86 charges. A short while later, he unexpectedly confessed.

Kasab said Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group formed in the 1980s with the alleged blessing of Pakistan’s intelligence services, was behind the attack. That supported India’s charges that Pakistan is not doing enough to clamp down on terrorist groups.