Kazmi, Kasab’s Defence Counsel, Removed from 26/11 Trial

Three days after an unconditional apology for ‘lying’, defence counsel in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case SC Abbas Kazmi was sacked on Monday by Special Judge ML Tahaliyani.

However, while sacking Kazmi, the court cited non-cooperation as a reason of removing him.

Besides, Special Judge Tahaliyani, who is presiding over the trial, ordered that the case would now be handled by Kazmi’s assistant – lawyer K P Pawar, also a state appointee in the most high-profile legal trial in the country.

Kazmi was anointed for defence of the lone surviving attacker of 26/11 and Pakistani naitonal Amir Ajmal Kasab by the state.

Last week, Kazmi was also accused of ‘lying’ in the Special Court and Special Judge had reprimanded him strictly for his wayward behaviour with a threat to sack him.

Kazmi tendered an unconditional apology before the Special Court on Friday and was then allowed to continue, with the judge saying he wanted the issue to be resolved in an amicable manner.

The issue arose last week after Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam expressed his intention to file an affidavit seeking permission to examine another 340 formal witnesses in the terror attacks trial. These would be in addition to the 271 witnesses examined by Nikam in the last eight months of trial.

When Kazmi claimed he was not informed of this development, Nikam pointed out that not only had he expressed his intention to examine the formal witnesses through affidavit right at the early stages of the trial in May, but on Nov 17 (2009), had even sent all the copies of the 340 affidavits to the defence lawyer.

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