MUMBAI: His swaggering image as he walked around Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus dispensing death was captured by Mumbai Mirror photo editor Sebastian D' souza, and was the first glimpse of the terrorists who have held Mumbai hostage over the last 48 hours.
Now we can also tell you who this man is and how he has become the vital link for investigating agencies to crack the terror plot.
His name is Azam Amir Kasav, he is 21 years old, speaks fluent English, hails from tehsil Gipalpura in Faridkot in Pakistan, and is the only terrorist from this audacious operation to have been captured alive.
An ATS spokesperson confirmed that the man captured was indeed the one photographed by us.
On the night of Wednesday-Thursday Azam and his colleague opened fire at CST before creating havoc at Metro and then moving on to Girgaum Chowpatty in a stolen Skoda, and where they were intercepted by a team from the Gamdevi police station . Azam shot dead assistant police inspector Tukaram Umbale.
But in that encounter Azam's colleague was killed and he himself was injured in the hand. He pretended to be dead giving rise to the news that two terrorists had been killed. However as the 'bodies' were being taken to Nair Hospital, the accompanying cops figured that one of the men was breathing.
According to sources, the casualty ward of Nair hospital was evacuated and the Anti-Terror Squad moved in to interrogate him. Azam who was tight-lipped initially, cracked upon seeing the mutilated body of his colleague and pleaded with the medical staff at Nair to save his life. "I do not want to die," he reportedly said. "Please put me on saline."
Ammunition, a satellite phone and a layout plan of CST was recovered from him. According to sources the young terrorist has given the investigators vital leads including how the chief planner of the Mumbai terror plot had come to the city a month ago, took picture and filmed strategic locations and trained their group and instructed them to "kill till the last breath." Every man was given six to seven magazines with fifty bullets each, eight hand grenades per terrorist with one AK-57 , an automaticloading revolver and a supply of dry fruits.
Azam reportedly disclosed that the group left Karachi in one boat and upon reaching Gujarat they hoisted a white flag on their boat and were intercepted by two officers of the coast guard near Porbandar and while they were being questioned one of the terrorists grappled with one of the officers slit his throat and threw the body in the boat. The other officer was told to help the group reach Mumbai. When they were four nautical miles away from Mumbai there were three speedboats waiting for them where the other coastguard officer was killed. All the ammo was then shifted into these three spedboats they reached Colaba jetty on Wednesday night and the ten men broke up into groups of two each. Four of these men went to the Taj Mahal hotel, two of them to the Trident hotel, two towards Nariman House at Colaba and two of which Azam was one moved to CST.
Azam, who was at Nair hospital for nearly four hours, was taken away by the intelligence agencies in the early hours of Thursday to an unknown location after the hospital authorities had removed the bullet from his hand and declared that his condition stable. But it seems the police grilling was so intense that before he left the hospital for an undisclosed location he pleaded with the police and the medical staff to kill him. "Now , I don't want to live," he said.