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26/11 attacks: HC defers Kasab`s case to Sept 20

Kasab`s lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah sought time saying the appeal was still being prepared because of the delay by defence lawyers.



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday deferred by three weeks the hearing on the confirmation of death penalty awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab for his role in the 26/11 terror strikes after his lawyers sought time to file an appeal against the conviction.

Kasab`s lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah sought time saying the appeal was still being prepared because of the delay by defence lawyers, who had appeared for the convict in the trial court in making available necessary information.

Justices Ranjana Desai and RV More deferred the matter to September 20 after Kasab`s lawyers assured them that they would file the appeal before that date.

The court had on the last occasion admitted Government`s appeal against the acquittal of two co-accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed while directing that warrants may be issued against the duo to compel their presence before a sessions court in Mumbai.

Both are currently lodged in separate jails in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the attack on CRPF camp at Rampur on January 1, 2008 in which eight persons were killed.

Government`s counsel Ujjwal Nikam drew the attention of the judges to a media report attributed to Kasab`s lawyers that he had no recollection of the 26/11 attacks. The tabloid report quoting Solkar and Shah said the terror convict failed to even recognise them when they met him recently to prepare the case for his defence.

However, the judges noted that they would not go by the newspaper report and added that a convict had a right to file an appeal in a higher court.

Kasab was on May 3 found guilty of killing 166 people along with nine other accomplices of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. While he was captured alive by police, others were shot dead by security forces.

The High Court would hear the confirmation of death penalty imposed on Kasab and the appeals of the state against acquittal of two accused and that of Kasab against his conviction together.

On September 20, the court may fix a date for a day-to-day hearing of these matters which is expected to take about three months to conclude.

Until then Kasab will continue to be lodged in solitary confinement in the heavily-guarded Arthur Road Central jail.

PTI

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