Kasab’s lawyer again threatens to quit

May 15th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 15 (IANS) S.G. Abbas Kazmi, the lawyer representing Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, Friday threatened to quit the case for the second time this week following a heated argument with Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani.
Friday morning, Kazmi took up the cross-examination of a witness, Shashikant Pawar, who was Thursday examined by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

When Kazmi asked Pawar his age, he replied 35. At this, Kazmi pointed out to the court that in his examination the previous day, Pawar had mentioned his age as 23.

When the special judge asked the witness to confirm his previous statement, he replied in the negative. Kazmi pointed out that even the ‘panchnama’ in the court records showed Pawar’s age as 23.

At this, the special judge pulled up the court staff for the error.

Special Judge Tahilyani then urged Kazmi not to make it an issue since it was a ‘clerical error’ by the court staff.

“This is a very small issue but if you still stick to this point then you may withdraw from the case. If you don’t want to cooperate with the court then at least don’t teach the court its duties,” the judge said.

A visibly upset Kazmi responded that he could not function under any kind of pressure.

“If the court insists, then I shall withdraw from this case. I am only doing my professional duty of defending the accused. I wanted to prove that the witness is fictitious and wanted to prove that he was not the one who had recorded the ‘panchnama’ and that somebody else had done it, but the prosecution had summoned this person as the witness,” Kazmi said.

With this he started winding up when Nikam intervened and urged the special judge to adjourn the proceedings for a few minutes.

Shortly thereafter, the special judge calmed down and took on record the objections raised by Kazmi about the erroneous recording of Pawar’s age.

Kazmi also relented and continued with his defence in the case.

Meanwhile, three more witnesses, all doctors - Yogita Deokar, Venkata Ramamurthy and Vikas Kesari, deposed before the Special Court and identified Kasab.

Kasab was part of the 10-member terrorist squad that attacked Mumbai Nov 26. All his colleagues were killed.

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