The special judge presiding over 26/11 trial termed lawyer Abbas Kazmi “a liar.” Kazmi has been appointed to defend captured gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab.
“It is more than crystal clear that Kazmi has lied before the court,” said Judge ML Taheliyani. He said he would decide on Friday whether to continue with the lawyer.
The issue about the prosecution giving evidence of witnesses through their affidavits was raked up just before the last prosecution witness, chief investigation officer Ramesh Mahale, was to enter the witness box.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that he intended to give evidence of 339 witnesses on their affidavits and the prosecution had already handed over 232 affidavits to Kazmi.
But when the judge asked Kazmi to name the witnesses whom he intended to cross-examine, the defence lawyer replied that he hadn’t scrutinised the affidavits. Kazmi said he was unaware of Nikam’s statements.
His words, “I don’t care for such vague statements,” triggered the heated exchange of words. The judge termed the defence lawyer’s behaviour as highly irresponsible. “I can’t tolerate anybody lying before me,” Taheliyani said.
Nikam suggested that the court should continue Kazmi if he tenders unconditional apology “otherwise the court may take appropriate action.”
Kasab, however, wasn’t interested in the heated exchange of words between the judge and his lawyer.
The Pakistani national was sitting quietly, staring at the floor. Dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, he took naps as the arguments continued.