Anjali Waghmare will fight Kasab case: minister (Lead)

March 31st, 2009 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Mar 31 (IANS) Court-appointed lawyer Anjali Waghmare will represent Pakistani Ajmal Amir Kasab in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil said Tuesday, hours after the Shiv Sena forced the advocate to withdrew from the assignment.
Patil termed as “unfortunate” the Shiv Sena opposition to her decision to accept Kasab’s brief at the court’s behest.

Speaking to reporters, Patil said after Monday night incidents of intimidation outside Anjali’s residence, the police and government officials had met her.

“The government is making adequate arrangements to provide security to Anjali and she has expressed her intention to go ahead and defend the accused Kasab,” Patil said.

In a related development, Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said, “It was wrong to protest against the lawyer” who would represent one of the main accused in the Mumbai terror attacks trial.

Nikam told journalists that as per the Indian legal system the case of each accused can be pleaded with legal assistance and every accused has a right to defend himself.

“Such behaviour (protests by Shiv Sena) could be a contempt of the honourable court,” Nikam said.

Tuesday morning, a shaken Anjali called on the Mumbai Police top brass and informed them about the vehement protests outside her Worli residence by the Shiv Sena.

The demonstrators, led by the Shiv Sena’s Mumbai South chief Ajay Chaudhary, ended around 1 a.m. after they forced Anjali to give a written assurance that she would not appear in the Kasab case.

The Worli police later nabbed nine Shiv Sena activists for intimidating and demonstrating outside Anjali’s residence while Chaudhary was named as the “wanted” man.

Chaudhary led a mob of over 500 at Anjali’s Worli residence late Monday night, raising anti-Anjali slogans and demanding that she should not take up Kasab’s case.

The incident occurred near the Worli police camp where Anjali lives with her police officer husband Ramesh Waghmare.

Anjali and K.P. Pawar - both empanelled on the Maharashtra Legal Aid Committee - were appointed as government lawyers for Kasab by Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani Monday.

Despite repeated attempts, Anjali remained incommunicado for her comments.

Anjali said Monday she took up the assignment as she felt very “disturbed and concerned” at the delay in such an important trial.

“I was feeling very disturbed and concerned that such an important trial is held up for so long only because the accused has nobody to defend him. This is the sole reason I offered my services on behalf of the Legal Aid Committee,” she told IANS.

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