Defying a diktat by the local bar association, a Pune lawyer has come forward to represent Himayat Mirza Baig, the main accused in the Germany Bakery blast, saying the lawyers should not prejudge an accused.
Sushil Mancharkar has defied the appeal by the Pune Bar Association (PBA) which asked its members not to represent Baig terming his crime as "heinous and against the nation".
"Baig or any other accused has the constitutional right to be considered innocent till proven guilty," Mancharkar told IANS Saturday.
"I am ready to fight his case and defend that right in court," he added.
With Baig's custody ending Monday, the bar association has maintained that no lawyer should represent Baig.
"We had appealed to our lawyers not to represent Baig when he was produced in court Monday (Sep 8). His crime is against the nation. The association's appeal should be respected," bar association president Milind Pawar told IANS.
"Now that Mancharkar has decided to represent Baig, the association members will meet again and decide what to do next," he added.
Launching a counter-attack at Pawar, Mancharkar said lawyers should follow the law, and not emotion.
"If we are talking of offence against the nation or state, why did Pawar represent Abdul Karim Telgi," Mancharkar questioned.
"A lawyer's job is to represent the accused. Whether he is guilty or not will be decided by the court," he added.
The Anti-Terrorist Squad Sep 8 arrested Baig and his accomplice Shaikh Lal Baba Mohammad Hussain Farid alias Bilal for the Feb 13 German bakery blast in Pune city in which 17 people were killed and more than 65 injured.