The state government has provided free legal aid to 120 Somali pirates captured by the Indian Navy last year, against whom charges are yet to be framed in a fast track court.
Senior inspector Pandurang Doke of Yellowgate police station told HT on Wednesday that advocate Amol Phuke has been appointed by the government to represent the pirates. HT had, on Tuesday, reported about a letter written by the Yellowgate police station to legal aid authorities about appointing a lawyer to appear for the pirates so that charges can be framed in the fast track court.
Doke said the police had intimated the court about the lawyer’s appointment and the charges are likely to be filed on January 23. On the Yellowgate police’s request, the process of engaging four Somali students from Pune University to interpret the charges to the pirates, who know little or no English, has begun. DCP, Port Zone, Tanaji Ghadge told HT that on the government’s request, the university authorities have agreed to provide the students, whose remuneration for the service has been finalised.
Earlier, the Somali government had not responded to the Mumbai police’s request of providing legal aid to pirates.