Trial to go on despite Ajmal’s confessionJul 24th, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Lead Story
|Statement to remain on record; Kazmi decides to continue|
Ajmal’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi
Mumbai: The Special Sessions Court here on Thursday ruled that the 26/11 trial would continue despite the confession of the surviving terrorist in the attack, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab.’ However, his statement would remain on record and used at an appropriate stage.
Judge M.L. Tahaliyani said: “The court has come to the conclusion that [Ajmal’s] statement of July 20 and the additional statement of July 21 shall form part of the record and remain on record. It will be considered by the court at an appropriate stage.”
He ruled out pronouncing judgment based on the statement as Ajmal had not pleaded guilty to all the offences against him. “At the outset, let me state that I am not inclined to accept the statement and pronounce judgment. It is a partial admission of charges. It may amount to admission of guilt to certain offences. He has not admitted to a lot many charges.”
Ajmal is facing 86 charges. Among them, in six, he has been independently charged under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
Citing judgments of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, the judge said Ajmal’s statement could not be effaced from the record as demanded by his lawyer Abbas Kazmi.
The court rejected Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam’s prayer that whatever offences Ajmal had admitted be recorded under Section 313 (power to examine the accused) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court held that as three-fourth of the witnesses had been examined, it would not be appropriate to record Ajmal’s statement, under this Section, partially. This “may cause serious prejudice to the case of the accused,” the judge said. He explained his order to Ajmal and told him that the trial would continue.
Mr. Kazmi threw a surprise by declaring that he wanted to withdraw from the case, as Ajmal was not confiding in him. “In view of the developments now, [I feel] my client is not confiding in me. The court has appointed me to represent him. However, if he is not confident of my assistance, I should excuse myself from the trial,” he said.
When the court asked Ajmal about this, he denied having lost faith in Mr. Kazmi. “Apni taraf se voh mehsus kar rahe hai to voh alag baat hai [If he feels that on his own accord then it is a different matter],” he replied.
The judge asked Mr. Kazmi and Ajmal to sort out any misunderstanding. He advised the lawyer to stay on. Mr. Kazmi said he would continue. Mr. Nikam termed the entire episode a “drama.”