Five months after 10 terrorists attacked Mumbai, killing 173 persons and injuring more than 300 in a 60-hour siege, trial of the case began on Wednesday in a specially constructed courtroom inside the high security Arthur road jail.
<b1>Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving 26/11 attacker, was produced before the court for the first time in person. Clad in a blue-coloured trouser and a grey T-shirt, Kasab entered a packed courtroom at 11.40 am.
Within minutes of the court taking up hearing, the first set back came when special judge ML Tahilyani ordered the revoking of Anjali Waghmare’s appointment as Ajmal Kasab’s lawyer on grounds of professional misconduct.
The direction came after the court felt Waghmare had not disclosed to the court that she had already been appointed by the Bombay High Court legal aid cell to appear for a witness in the same case.
The witness, who is seeking compensation from the state, was allegedly injured by Kasab and his 'buddy pair' partner Ismail Khan on the day of attack at Cama Hospital. Tahilyani told Waghmare, "I feel you should have disclosed that you had already been appointed by the legal aid cell to appear for a witness in this case.”
The court informed Kasab about the decision when he told the court he wanted a lawyer from Pakistan. “We had sent a request but did not receive any response. We will again send a request (to Pakistan) and wait for a day for them to respond,” Tahilyani told Kasab.
Mumbai crime branch chief Rakesh Maria told HT that they have faxed a letter to Ministry of Home Affairs, which will pass it on to the Foreign Ministry, to take it up with the Pakistani authorities.
The court retained KP Pawar, who was appointed along with Waghmare. The court will now take a decision on Thursday on who would replace Waghmare.