Kasab to be hanged, I am relieved, says Nikkam

Mumbai: Nearly 18 months after India's most wounding terror strike, Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab was Thursday sent to the gallows for his role in the killing spree that took the lives of 166 people with a special court ruling in a much-awaited judgement that he had forfeited the right to live.

Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani gave him death on four counts -- waging war against India, murder, conspiracy to commit murder and indulging in terrorist activities.

"To be hanged by the neck till death," he intoned after reading out each count, putting Kasab in a queue of over 300 people in death row across the country and triggering a wave of jubilation with most people demanding that his sentence be executed promptly.

The 23-year-old, the lone gunman captured alive among the 10 Pakistanis who had sneaked into Mumbai on the night of Nov 26, 2008 to unleash 60 hours of mayhem, broke down as Tahaliyani read out the sentence.

Kasab, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative born to poverty in a village in Pakistan's Punjab province, was also awarded life-term on five other charges of the total 86 counts he had been convicted for.

Winding up proceedings in a seven-month fast track trial, the judge said Kasab needed to be sentenced to death. "The penalty must be proportionate to the crime and, if it is not, it will be a mockery of justice and the common man would lose faith."