Mumbai, Nov 25: Terming his trial by a special court as "unfair", Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab today demanded a retrial of 26/11 case claiming that important witnesses were not examined, material evidence not tabled and norms not followed in appointing lawyers to defend him.
Opening arguments to defend Kasab in the Bombay High Court, his lawyer Amin Solkar argued that the 23-year-old should be tried afresh as important witnesses were not examined and cited the Best Bakery case in which Supreme Court had ordered retrial on the same ground.
Kasab, who along with nine other terrorists had struck Mumbai two years ago leaving 166 people dead, was sentenced to death by a special court in May.
Solkar said Anita Udaiya, an eye witness who had claimed to have seen terrorists getting down from a speed boat at fishermen's colony in South Mumbai on the day of terror attacks, was not examined in the trial.
She had later identified bodies of terrorists who were killed by armed forces in a pitched battle. In JJ hospital morgue, Anita had identified the bodies of slain gunmen who had arrived by the boat, Solkar said.
Another witness, Parasnath Giri, an RPF constable, who had sustained a bullet injury on chest when terrorists fired at him at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, was also not examined.
Solkar said that record of talks between slain police officer Hemant Karkare and staff of police control room on wireless was not produced in the trial. This would have thrown light on what had transpired in and around Cama Hospital when Kasab and his accomplice Abu Ismael allegedly struck.
Solkar also said that appointment of lawyers Abbas Kazmi and K P Pawar to defend Kasab in the trial court was also not in conformity with the law.
Solkar argued that appointment of Kazmi to defend Kasab in the trial court was illegal as he was not from the legal aid panel. Also the trial judge did not specify the criteria on the basis of which he appointed Kazmi as defence lawyer.
"Kazmi may have a standing at the bar but did he have the experience to defend Kasab?", Solkar asked.
Solkar also said that Kazmi got only 21 days to read the bulky 12000-page chargesheet and defend Kasab.
He was appointed on April 16, 2009 as defence lawyer and charges were framed against Kasab on May 6 last year. Two days later the first witness stepped into the box to.
Solkar argued that according to CrPC provisions in grave cases where offences are punishable with death, the trial court has to select one senior lawyer and one junior lawyer from the legal aid panel to defend the accused.
Both Kazmi and Pawar were not from legal aid panel. Also, he said, when Kazmi was removed by the trial judge as defence lawyer, Pawar was appointed as senior lawyer to defend Kasab.
"How can a junior lawyer become senior?" Solkar asked and alleged that norms were not followed in appointing the lawyers.
Defence lawyers comprising Amin Solkar, Farhana Shah and Santosh Deshpande commenced arguments today. On behalf of the State, Ujjwal Nikam had concluded his brief yesterday. PTI