Nikam produces CD of Kasab assaulting guards

The prosecution produced before the Bombay HC a CCTV footage of Kasab assaulting the prison staff.

Mumbai: The prosecution on Tuesday produced before the Bombay High Court a CCTV footage of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab assaulting the prison staff to oppose his plea for a closed-door interview with his lawyers.

The terror convict, known to throw tantrums in jail and the courtroom during his high-profile trial in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, assaulted the jail staff on September 1 and
the scene was claimed to have been captured by the CCTV cameras installed in his cell.

The CD was submitted by by government counsel Ujjwal Nikam. The High Court benches headed by Justice Ranjana Desai hearing confirmation of death sentence to Kasab pass an order tomorrow on whether Kasab`s plea for interview with his counsels within the sight of the security staff but not within earshot could be granted.

"The incident occurred on September 1 when Kasab was performing some illegal act and jail staff had to intervene. He (Kasab) assaulted the prison official which is clearly shown
in the CD," Nikam told the court without elaborating on what prompted intervention by the jail authorities.

"Kasab is a trained commando and with swift movements and he can pose a great danger to his own life as well as to the guards," Nikam said and submitted an affidavit filed by
the jailor opposing the Pakistani`s request for an interview with his lawyers which should not be within hearing distance of jail staff.

Submitting that the communication between a lawyer and his client was "privileged", Kasab`s advocate Amin Solkar said since the Pakistani was uncomfortable answering questions in the presence of jail staff or police, his counsels be allowed to interact with him in complete privacy.

Nikam, however, argued that the question of exchange of instructions with the prisoner at this stage did not arise as the evidence had already concluded. "As such there cannot be any privileged communication between the lawyer and the client." Nikam informed the High Court that after the September 1 incident, the authorities were closely monitoring
Kasab`s movements round-the-clock through CCTV and an officer was present within a distance of four feet all the time.

Jailor Rajendra Dhamane, in an affidavit, said Kasab was a trained commando and made very swift movements in the cell. "The presence of jail officers near him during interview with lawyers is essential to control his aggressive movements," he said.

Dhamane cited rule 11 of Maharashtra Prisons Rules, 1962, which says every interview with a convicted prisoner shall take place in the presence and hearing of a jail staff. The rule also states that during such an interview, a prisoner under sentence of death and his friends or legal advisors shall not be allowed to approach each other. While handing down death penalty to Kasab on May 6 this year, the trial court had said that keeping him alive will be a "lingering danger".

"Keeping Kasab alive would be a lingering danger to the society and the Indian government," Special Judge M L Tahaliyani had observed and said "The possibility of Kasab reforming is completely ruled out."

The Bombay High Court would hear the confirmation of death sentence to Kasab from October 18 through video conference after the prosecution apprehended that his physical
presence in court could pose a serious security threat.

The Pakistani terrorist, the only one to be caught alive among the 10 perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks that left 166 dead, is lodged in a bomb and bullet-proof cell in the Arthur Road Jail heavily guarded by Indo-Tibet Border Police.


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