Senior criminal lawyer to defend Kasab, daily hearings begin Friday (Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) A Mumbai-based senior criminal lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, was Thursday appointed to defend Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the 26/11 attacks, paving the way for daily hearings to begin in the sensational case.
Kazmi, who was appointed by Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani, will replace Anjali Waghmare, who was removed by the Special Court a day earlier on grounds of “professional misconduct”. Now daily hearings in the trial will begin Friday, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.

Nikam told mediapersons he had made preliminary submissions about the Mumbai terror attacks before Tahilyani.

“Tomorrow, we shall submit details of the charges against the accused trio - Kasab, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Mohammed - to the Special Court,” Nikam informed.

He will also provide details of the evidence collected against the accused, details pertaining to investigations in the case and Mumbai Police’s move to file a supplementary chargesheet to complement the earlier 11,000-page chargesheet filed two months ago.

Kasab, who was present in the Special Court, Thursday morning for the second day, had earlier demanded a Pakistani lawyer for his defence. His plea was rejected by Special Judge Tahilyani.

However, the Special Court said if the Pakistani government or Kasab’s family members wished to engage an Indian lawyer, they were free to do so.

Kazmi had said Wednesday that most lawyers were reluctant to come forward and defend the terrorist in view of strong public sentiments. He cited the instance of the attack on Waghmare’s home after her appointment last month.

The trial has started amidst tight security arrangements within and outside the Arthur Road Central Jail. A large contingent of domestic and international media, including television crews, are covering the proceedings of the trial of the lone terrorist caught after the Mumbai terror attacks of Nov 26, 2008, and of his two alleged associates.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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