Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist convicted for the 26/11 attack, told the Bombay high court on Wednesday that he had no objection to the state opening arguments on the confirmation of death sentence awarded to him for his role in the carnage that killed 166 people.
His lawyer, Farhana Shah, made a statement that Kasab had no objection if the state made arguments first on the confirmation of death sentence awarded to him.
However, special public prosecutor in the 26/11 trial Ujjwal Nikam said Kasab's appeal against his conviction and death sentence should be heard first before the confirmation matter was taken up. If the appeal fails, only then can the confirmation of death sentence awarded to Kasab be heard, he submitted.
Justices Ranjana Desai and R V More then asked Nikam to file written submissions and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.
As per provisions of the Criminal Code Procedure, if an accused is sentenced to death by the trial court then the matter is placed before the high court for confirmation of capital punishment. The judges, however, hinted that the confirmation of death sentence as well as the appeal filed by the convict have to be heard simultaneously. The bench observed that from October 18 it would hear arguments on a day-to-day basis on the confirmation of death penalty imposed on Kasab.
The court has ruled that Kasab will not attend the trial personally but hear proceedings through videoconference.
In a related development, the court disposed of a petition filed by Faheem Ansari, one of the two accused who was acquitted in the 26/11 case from conspiracy charges, seeking appointment of a lawyer and meetings with relatives in jail.
The petition was disposed of as Faheem's lawyer R B Mokashi said he was not pressing for it. He submitted that Faheem had already appointed him as his lawyer. Moreover, he said, to meet relatives it was not necessary to seek the court's permission because jail authorities can grant such relief. Faheem had written a letter to the high court from the jail, which converted it into a petition.
The court enquired from the special public prosecutor as to when the other accused, Sabauddin Ahmed, who was also acquitted in the 26/11 terror attack case from conspiracy charges, will be produced before the court in Mumbai. Nikam replied that most probably the Uttar Pradesh police will produce him in a Mumbai court on Wednesday. Faheem was produced in a court in Mumbai by the UP police a few days ago, he said.
Both the accused, arrested in another terror-related case in UP, had to be produced in the Mumbai court because the high court has admitted an appeal filed by the state challenging their acquittal in 26/11 terror attack case.