Ajmal Kasab and his friend Muzaffar Lal Khan had joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for robberies to improve their financial well being, get weapons and training to achieve this, and had nothing to with 'jihad' (holy crusade).
The revelation comes from ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria's book "Let Me Say It Now". The top cop who interrogated Kasab after he was captured recalls how the terror accused had believed that Muslims were barred from offering 'namaaz' and mosques were locked up in India.
To clear his misconceptions, Maria instructed Ramesh Mahale, one of the investigating team members, to take him to a mosque near Metro Cinema in a vehicle. Witnessing the 'namaaz' in progress with his eyes, Kasab was quite bewildered as he even considered the daily five times 'azaan' (call to prayer for the Muslim faithful) -- which he could hear in the police lockup -- as a figment of his imagination.
This is not the only claim made in the book. According to Maria, Ajmal Amir Kasab from Faridkot in Pakistan was never supposed to be found. Rather, the LeT wanted him to be killed as a Bengaluru resident "Samir Dinesh Chaudhari", with a red thread tied around his wrist to portray the attack as a case of "Hindu Terror".
Fugitive don, Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar had been assigned to kill Kasab with the help of LeT and Pakistan's ISI -- thus erasing the only living evidence of their crime, Maria says in the book.
According to excerpts from the book, (Pakistan's) ISI and LeT were striving to eliminate Kasab in the jail as he was the key evidence linking them with the attack and Dawood Ibrahim's gang was tasked with eliminating him.
While describing LeT's plan to project the 26/11 attack as "Hindu Terror", Maria wrote, "If everything went according to plan, Kasab would have died as Chaudhari and the media would have blamed 'Hindu terrorists' for the attack."
The terror organisation had also reportedly planted fake ID cards with Indian addresses on the terrorists, he mentioned.
It is not just Maria who talks about Kasab's lack of awareness when it came to the full extent of the LeT's plans.
A 2014 book, “Fragile Frontiers: The Secret History of Mumbai Terror Attacks” by historian Saroj Kumar Rath says that before they came to India, the recruits for the 26/11 attacks were given about two years of training -- a "joint responsibility of the LeT and the ISI”.
According to Rath, their sea training involved learning “how to fish”, something that made Kasab think that “he had got a job and he could earn a respectable living”.
“He (Kasab) was not informed by the LeT why he was being prepared as a mariner and as a fishermen,” quoted the book from what Kasab said during his interrogation.
The attack lasted for four days, killing 166 people and injuring over 300. Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was hanged at Yerawada jail in Pune on November 21, 2012 after the then-president Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.
(With inputs from agencies)