Op X-ecution: Kasab hanged, buried

FP

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was executed and buried in Pune's Yerawada Central Prison on Wednesday, five days before the fourth anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in which 165 people were killed.

The Pakistani terrorist, the lone surviving 26/11 gunman, was hanged to death at 7.30 am, soon after The Indian Express reported in its print and online editions that President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected his mercy petition.

Kasab was moved to Yerawada prison from Mumbai's Arthur Road jail on Monday night as part of a top secret manouvre codenamed Operation X.

"The transfer was done with moderate security but with utmost secrecy. A senior officer from the Mumbai Police Crime Branch along with a senior officer from the Maharashtra prisons department coordinated the operation," a highly placed source in the prisons department said.

"Several Crime Branch officers travelled with Kasab to Pune in private vehicles. He was lodged in the high security Anda Cell of Yerawada prison until the time he was hanged," the source said, referring to an elliptical cell which has 18 barracks.

Fifteen minutes after Kasab was hanged, a message was sent to Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil saying Operation X had been successful, sources said. Patil announced the news at a press conference soon afterward.

No hangman was available for the execution, which was carried out by jail officials. "Prison staff completed the entire procedure as per laid down rules. The lever was pulled by a jail officer," an official at Yerawada prison said.

Yerawada and Nagpur Central Jail are the only two prisons in Maharashtra that have facilities for carrying out an execution. The last surviving hangman of the prisons department died recently. The last hanging in Maharashtra before Wednesday was carried out on July 13, 1995, when Amrutlal Joshi was executed for killing a 77-year-old man in suburban Khar in Mumbai.

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