On Monday, Amir Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, made his first appearance in court – through video conference – and asked for an Urdu translation of the chargesheet.
However, the court, which referred the case to a sessions court for trial and set the next hearing for March 23, rejected his demand.
Fahim Ahmed Ansari and Shahbuddin Ahmed, the two other arrested suspects who are believed to have mapped the target spots, also appeared before court on video.
All three are lodged in Arthur Road jail, from where the video was transmitted.
“Mera naam Ajmal Kasab hai [my name is Ajmal Kasab],” said the 21-year-old who was sporting a white T-shirt. Though he showed no signs of remorse, Kasab was restless and preferred to stand though a chair had been provided. He replied to the court’s queries in a loud and firm voice and asked for an Urdu translation of the chargesheet when the court asked him if he had a copy of the 12,000-page document. “I have got some papers but I don’t understand what they are,” Kasab said in Hindi, staring boldly at the television set.
The other two accused also told the court that they did not understand the language. The chargesheet is in Marathi and English.
The court dismissed their plea after special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam argued that it is not mandatory by law. “If the accused don’t understand the language of the chargesheet, their lawyers can explain it to them,” Nikam said. Later, speaking to the media, Nikam said Kasab may have to engage a lawyer to understand the contents of the chargesheet.