Sporting a clean shaven look, Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab on Tuesday demanded he be given an Urdu copy of the voluminous chargesheet against him in the 26/11 attack and wanted one month to study it. Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the Mumbai terror attack, moved separate applications to this effect through his lawyer S.G. Abbas Kazmi before Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani shortly after the days's proceedings began.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam objected to the applications saying defence lawyer Kazmi was well-versed in Hindi, Marathi and English and could explain the contents to his client Kasab."This is nothing but a delaying tactic on the part of the accused to prolong the trial," Nikam argued.
Kazmi countered that he had been handed over the chargesheet running into over 11,500 pages just four days ago and needed time to study it. "Only after reading it can we plan out the defence strategy. Even the lawyer for another accused has sought time on similar grounds," Kazmi said.
Lawyer Aejaz Naqvi, representing suspected Lashker-e-Taiba activist Sabahuddin Mohammed, filed an application seeking to know how the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was permitted to interrogate his client.
He also demanded to know the names of the policemen who allegedly subjected Sabahuddin to third-degree custodial torture and wanted them to be dismissed from service. In another application, Sabahuddin wanted the police to return his belongings which were in their custody.
Co-accused Fahim Ansari's lawyers moved an application seeking a copy of the charge-sheet and time to study it. The application was moved by advocates Saba Qureshi, Nilesh Jadhav and Shahid Azmi, who are representing him.
Nikam filed an application seeking an inquiry into the exact age of Kasab after his claim last week that he was below 18 and hence, a juvenile. Moving the application, Nikam said since the charges against the accused Kasab, Fahim and Sabahuddin were due to be framed soon, it was imperative to finally decide and arrive at Kasab's correct age.
"We have solid evidence to prove that he is 21, but we want the matter to be properly inquired and disposed of to enable the framing of charges without further delay," Nikam said.
Tahilyani reserved his rulings on all the applications till Wednesday.
Tuesday morning, Kasab appeared clean-shaven, unlike his regular short beard, prompting mediapersons to question whether he was trying to downplay his exact age.
Smiling at the suggestion, his lawyer Kazmi said his clean shaven look had no relation to his age. "There are other ways to prove his correct age. It's just that today he may have felt a bit warm, so decided to appear before the court clean shaven."