Bharatiya Janta Party spokesperson Sambit Patra reiterated a debunked claim that terrorist Ajmal Kasab was given Biryani to eat while awaiting trial for the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.
BOOM reached out to special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Friday regarding the claim. Nikam told BOOM, 'Its totally wrong.. Ajmal Kasab was terrorist and he was never given any biryani as alleged. He was given food as per Jail Manual (Sic)'.
On September 10, 2020, Patra tweeted a clip from a panel discussion on Hindi TV channel Aaj Tak's Dangal, aired on the same day, where he can be heard saying in Hindi 'When Kasab was fed biriyani from their money, he never once said don't feed Kasab biriyani from my money'.
(Hindi: जब कसाब को, जब कसाब को इन्ही के पैसे से बिरियानी खिलाया जाता था तो एक दिन तो इन्होने नहीं कहा की कसाब को बिरयानी मत खिलाओ मेरे पैसे से |)
The Aaj Tak debate was held a day after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) bulldozed parts of the office of Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut's production house located on Mumbai's Nargis Dutt Road on September 9, 2020. BMC brought down parts of the bungalow alleging it to be an illegal construction.
Patra reiterated this oft-quoted concocted claim during the debate while replying to panelist Ravi Shrivastava's question on why was Y-category security provided to Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut from tax payers' money.
Shrivastava was raising a question on Central government's decision to provide Y-category security to Ranaut ahead of her Mumbai visit which was scheduled on September 9. The actor has been in the middle of a row with the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his party over her controversial statements on Mumbai police and actor Sushant Singh Rajput's alleged death.
View Patra's tweet below.
रवि श्रीवास्तव : कंगना को security मेरे पैसे से क्यों दो गयी?— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) September 10, 2020
मेरा उत्तर : जब अजमल कसाब को आपके पैसे से बिरयानी दो जा रही थी तब आपको कोई दिक़्क़त नहीं थी। pic.twitter.com/OuqGuzfOJS
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The clip has also been shared on Facebook with a Hindi caption which translated to 'Sycophant: Why was Kangana provided security from my money. Follower: You never had a problem when Kasab was being fed biryani from your money?'.
(Hindi: घंगोर चमचा : कंगना को security मेरे टैक्स के पैसे से क्यों दो गयी? भक्त : जब अजमल कसाब को आपके पैसे से बिरयानी दी जा रही थी तब आपको कोई दिक़्क़त नहीं थी।)
BOOM did a keyword search with 'Ujjwal Nikam and Kasab Biryani' and found several news paper reports about this concocted claim.
Ujjwal Nikam is the special public prosecutor who had argued on behalf of the state during the trial of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab along with nine others between November 26 and 29, 2008. Kasab, the only attacker of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to have been captured alive, was hanged on November 21, 2012.
BOOM found a number of newspaper reports wherein Nikam had admitted that Kasab had never asked for biryani and the claim was cooked up by him.
We contacted Nikam for a statement. He replied to us on message saying, "It's totally wrong.. Ajmal Kasab was terrorist and he was never given any biryani as alleged. He was given food as per Jail Manual."
In a statement given to Indian Express in 2015, Nikam had said 'Media has to play a responsible role and has to be vigilant. They hyped his tears and portrayed him as a scapegoat, a young boy, which was not right. Following the media hype, I saw a tilt in people's perspectives. It was then that I made up the statement and said he (Kasab) had demanded mutton biryani just to divert the people's attention'.
According to a News18 report, Nikam had told CNN IBN 'The media was at that time asking me questions that suggested that Kasab was too young an brainwashed and that he was a scapegoat. In response to which I said Kasab asked me for mutton biryani. It was never a statement of fact'.