Mumbai: Advocate K.P. Pawar will now defend Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab after his lawyer Abbas Kazmi was sacked by the special 26/11 trial court for “non-cooperation”. This has happened days after the country marked the first anniversary of the three-day siege that killed 166 people.
Pawar, who is from the State Legal Aid Cell, has been assisting Kazmi since the opening day of the trial in 26 November terror attacks.
Special judge M.L. Tahiliyani terminated Kazmi and directed Pawar to defend Kasab and appoint himself an assistant, if required.
The special trial court took action against defence counsel Abbas Kazmi for refusing to cooperate with the court.
Tahiliyani ordered Kazmi’s termination after he refused to consider the court’s suggestion on cross-examination of witnesses.
“The court has today cancelled the appointment of defence attorney Abbas Kazmi and appointed his assistant as the lead defence lawyer in the case,” said public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
“There will not be any further delays to the trial as I have already presented 340 witnesses,” he said.
The trial, which has gripped the country for about eight months, has seen several twists and turns, with a previous defence attorney also dismissed for unprofessional conduct and Kasab making a surprise guilty plea.
Kasab, a Pakistani national who is among 38 charged by India in the attack, has been charged with 86 offences, including murder and waging war against India. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.
Last week, a Pakistani court indicted seven Pakistani suspects in connection with the attacks.