Sends application to legal aid panel
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab will challenge in the Bombay High Court his conviction in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and has written to its legal aid panel, seeking a lawyer to represent him.
K.K. Sonawane, Member-Secretary, Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA), told journalists on Friday that authorities in the Arthur Road jail, where the lone surviving gunman has been incarcerated, received a one-page letter, handwritten in Urdu, from Kasab on May 22 seeking legal assistance to appeal in the higher court. The application was translated into Marathi and forwarded to the MSLSA on May 28 by jail superintendent Ramesh Dhamane.
Mr. Sonawane said the matter was still under consideration of the acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel, who is the executive chairman of the MSLSA. A final decision on Kasab's legal counsel is likely to be reached in the next two days.
“We are scrutinising the names. We will call for records and documents from the jail and hand them over to counsel to give him sufficient time to prepare so that there is no delay.” The court is on vacation till Monday.
There are 36 advocates on the legal aid panel to choose from. Alternatively, the MSLSA “can assign the matter to any senior counsel in the interest of justice. This case is important and has international dimensions. It is our duty to assign his brief to seniormost lawyers to rule out any possibility of allegations that he [Kasab] was not represented properly and to leave no lacuna as the matter may go to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Sonawane said.
Meanwhile, a confirmation on Kasab's death sentence is awaited from the High Court. He was given the death penalty by a special sessions court on May 6 for waging war, murder, abetment to murder, criminal conspiracy and committing terrorist acts. He has received a copy of the judgment.