"This is a historic trial and I have done my best to defend the accused. What happened yesterday was in the heat of the moment and I tender an unconditional apology," Abbas Kazmi said.
Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi on Friday tendered an unconditional apology to the trial court hearing the Mumbai attack case for his remark that he did not care about affidavits of witnesses filed by the prosecution.
Accepting Mr. Kazmi’s apology, Judge M L Tahaliyani also withdrew his observation that Mr. Kazmi was a liar.
The judge had on Thursday called him a liar as Mr. Kazmi denied that special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had stated in his opening address on May 8 that he would file affidavits of witnesses.
Mr. Kazmi on Friday said, “This is a historic trial and I have done my best to defend the accused. What happened yesterday was in the heat of the moment and I tender an unconditional apology.”
The judge said that he was also withdrawing his remarks about Mr. Kazmi, as he wanted the issue to be resolved amicably.
Mr. Kazmi offered apology after advocate Nikam intervened and sought time from the court to resolve the issue.
The judge then adjourned proceedings for 40 minutes following which Mr. Kazmi decided to apologise.
In today’s order, the judge said, “In the interests of justice the issue has been resolved amicably. Keeping in mind the submissions made by prosecutor and the defence lawyer, it can be said that the observations made by me yesterday would not be taken into consideration.”
Earlier, when the court assembled in the morning, Mr. Kazmi said that he was shocked over the court’s observation that he was a liar. “Please tell me the allegations against me and I shall reply within 24 hours after taking independent legal advice,” he said.
Mr. Kazmi’s controversial statement came on Thursday after prosecutor Nikam informed the Judge that he desired to file 340 affidavits of formal witnesses and that copies of 233 such documents have already been served on the defence lawyer.
When the judge asked Mr. Kazmi whether he wanted to cross examine any of these witnesses, Mr. Kazmi said that he would declare his strategy after Mr. Nikam filed these affidavits in the court.
Mr. Nikam said he had informed the court in his opening address on May 8 that he would be filing such affidavits.
However, Mr. Kazmi said Mr. Nikam had not made such disclosure in his opening address, prompting the judge to say that he (Kazmi) was telling lies. “This is a serious matter and you are telling lies. I now have to consider whether to continue you as a defence lawyer. You have been appointed by the court to defend the accused and it is your duty to co-operate in the interest of justice,” judge Tahaliyani had observed.
Today, after the issue had been resolved, copies of 340 affidavits were officially handed over to Mr. Kazmi and two other accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.