Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani gunman sentenced to death for the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, moved the Bombay High Court on Tuesday challenging the death sentence awarded to him for killing 166 people in the attacks.
“We filed an appeal today,” one of Kasab’s lawyers, Amin Solkar, told Hindustan Times.
Kasab challenged the death penalty on the grounds that it was harsh and pleaded that there were lapses in the evidence produced against him in the trial court.
The appeal said witnesses had easily identified Kasab because his photograph had appeared prominently in newspapers and on television on the night of the attack. It also challenged the trial court's ruling that upheld Kasab’s confession as “true and voluntary”.
The high court will hear the appeal with the matter pertaining to confirmation of the death sentence.
The court will on Wednesday also decide whether Kasab’s lawyer can interview him at Arthur Road jail with prison officials out of audible distance.
Solkar had made this request to the high court on Tuesday.
The prosecution has opposed the plea saying there was danger to the life of the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative and also to the lives of others around him because of Kasab’s “wild behaviour”. Special public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, gave the court a compact disc with close circuit television footage of Kasab assaulting jail staff on September 1. “Kasab is a trained commando and with swift movements he can pose a great danger to his own life as well as to that of the guards,” Nikam said.
Nikam argued that the Maharashtra Prison Rules mandates the presence of jail staff within audible distance of a convict on death row.
He also denied Solkar’s allegations that an intelligence bureau officer was present during the lawyers’ earlier meeting with Kasab. Nikam said only the prison’s security staff was allowed near Kasab.
Solkar then said Kasab was uncomfortable answering questions and demanded that the lawyers be allowed to speak to him alone, in the absence of the prison staff or police.
The judges were to view the CD that Nikam produced in the chambers on Tuesday evening.
On May 6, a special court ahd sentenced Kasab to death for killing innocent people, waging war against the nation, and for conspiracy.