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Updated: November 26, 2009 23:04 IST

Court slams Ajmal’s lawyer for ‘lying’

Staff Reporter
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Abbas Kazmi, the defence lawyer for Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist arrested in the Mumbai terror attacks case. File photo: Vivek Bendre
The Hindu
Abbas Kazmi, the defence lawyer for Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist arrested in the Mumbai terror attacks case. File photo: Vivek Bendre

The judge in the 26/11 trial court, M.L. Tahaliyani, reprimanded the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab's lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, for making "irresponsible" statements and asked him to explain why his services could not be terminated for "misconduct".

The 26/11 trial hearing came to a sudden halt on the day of the first anniversary of the attacks, when the special sessions court accused Abbas Kazmi, lawyer of Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ of being “a liar” in a matter pertaining to the filing of affidavits.

The court took a very serious view of Mr. Kazmi’s denial that special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had said anything about filing the affidavits of witnesses. Adjourning the proceedings, special sessions judge M.L. Tahaliyani said he would give his verdict on whether Mr. Kazmi could continue as Ajmal’s lawyer in the case.

“What’s very serious for me today is that he has lied. I don’t think an advocate who has told a lie should be allowed to continue. It’s more than crystal clear that Kazmi made a false statement. Kazmi has no objection if the court withdraws his appointment…The court is fully aware that [Mr. Nikam] has on many occasions stated in my presence and in the presence of my staff and the media that he intended to file affidavits of witnesses, whose evidence is formal in nature. He has been repeatedly saying that for the last eight to ten days. I remember and I am sure Kazmi was present in court,” the court observed.

Mr. Kazmi also demanded that the prosecution move a written application about the filing of affidavits. An argument ensued, wherein the court pointed out to him that copies of affidavits were given in advance and if he wanted a written application, he should have returned the copies.

Mr. Tahaliyani noted: “The court wanted to know how many witnesses he [Kazmi] wanted to call for cross-examination. Kazmi was totally non-cooperative and not ready to make any statement in the regard…He was consistently evasive. The court is [unable to understand] why this attitude was adopted by Kazmi.”

When the court sought Mr. Nikam’s stand in the matter, the special prosecutor said that if Mr. Kazmi tendered an apology, the court might consider it.

Outside the court, Mr. Kazmi refused to comment. “Do you think Abbas Kazmi will apologise?” he said. “I am going to speak about what I think is just and fair,” he later told The Hindu over telephone.

Citing the three options before him, Mr. Tahaliyani said he might ask Mr. Kazmi to continue or appoint a new lawyer for ‘Kasab’ or appoint Mr. Kazmi’s assistant K.P. Pawar to represent ‘Kasab.’

On April 15, the first day of the trial, the court revoked the appointment of advocate Anjali Waghmare as Ajmal’s defence lawyer. The fresh complication has foiled the prosecution’s plans to wind up the examination of witnesses from its side.

Italian connection

Following the arrest of two Pakistani nationals in Italy in connection with the case, the Mumbai police now want to seek information from Italian authorities about a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) payment. They also want to confirm the identities of Mohammad Ishfaq and Javid Iqbal ,who used the Western Union Money Transfer to pay for the VoIP account used by the 26/11 terrorists. The police would be submitting a Letter Rogatory before a magistrate’s court.

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