Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab's lawyer Abbas Kazmi on Thursday told a 26/11 trial court that he did not care about affidavits of witnesses filed by prosecution, inviting the judge's ire for his "irresponsible" statement and a notice to explain why his services should not be terminated for "misconduct".
Kazmi made this statement after Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam informed Judge M L Tahaliyani that he desired to file 340 affidavits of formal witnesses and that copies of 233 such documents have already been served on the defence lawyer.
When the judge asked Kazmi whether he wanted to cross examine any of these witnesses, including victims' families, doctors, fire brigade personnel and claimants of bodies, the defence lawyer said he would declare his strategy after prosecutor Nikam files these affidavits in the court.
Nikam said he had informed the court in his opening address on May 8 that he would be filing such affidavits.
However, Kazmi said Nikam had not made such disclosure in his opening address, prompting the judge to say that he (Kazmi) was telling lies.
"This is a serious matter and you are telling lies. I now have to consider whether to continue you as a defence lawyer. You have been appointed by the court to defend the accused and it is your duty to cooperate in the interest of justice", judge Tahaliyani observed.
Seeking Kazmi's explanation, the court deferred till tomorrow Nikam's application seeking to file 340 affidavits of formal witnesses.
A visibly angry prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters outside the court, "We were to wind up our case today after examining 271 witnesses. The last witness was to step in the box today, but defence lawyer's stand has delayed this."
Prosecutor Nikam, in the application, said defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi had refused to accept the formal documents as a result of which he had to file affidavits of 340 witnesses which are formal in nature.
It would be a time-consuming process to examine all witnesses individually. There is a provision in law to file affidavits of formal witnesses and the defence lawyers have a right to cross examine them if they so desire, Nikam told PTI.
Apart from doctors who treated victims and conducted postmortems, officials who did inquest panchnama, those who claimed bodies, who carried material to forensic laboratories and surveyors who estimated damage to properties, have been included as formal witnesses.
The trial, which commenced on May 8, has reached its fag end with examination of 271 witnesses. The prosecution would wrap up the case in a day or two. The court would hear arguments after examining defence witnesses.
The accused would then give their statements on the evidence adduced against them. The verdict is likely within two months. PTI