A lawyer from the Maharashtra legal aid cell was on Monday appointed to defend the lone terrorist caught in the Mumbai terror strikes, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, by the special sessions court, which set April 6 as the date for commencing the trial.
Judge M L Tahilyani appointed Anjali Waghmare, a lawyer from the Maharashtra Service Legal Authority, to defend Kasab once the trial begins in the high security Arthur Road prison.
Kasab, who attended the court proceedings through video conferencing from the Arthur Road jail, where he is presently lodged, was introduced to Waghmare by the judge.
The court informed Kasab that his lawyer would brief him on April 6 and Waghmare would also assist him in reading the police chargesheet as she was familiar with Marathi and English.
Clad in a grey shirt, Kasab, who was sporting a trimmed beard, smiled and nodded at Waghmare after which he told the court that he wanted to read newspapers.
Judge Tahilyani said he would consider all his requests once the trial begins in the special court set up inside the Arthur Road jail.
During the last hearing, Kasab had requested the court to appoint a lawyer for him from the state legal aid cell. Following this, the court had prepared a panel of 17 lawyers from the cell.
Along with Kasab, the two other arrested accused in the case, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed were also produced through video conferencing from the Arthur Road jail.
Faheem, who on the last hearing had requested the court to appoint a lawyer for him, on Monday said that he wants either Sudeep Pasbola, Mubin Solkar or Hyder Ali Momin to appear for him.
"If the court cannot appoint any of these lawyers then I would like to continue with advocate Ejaz Naqvi, who appeared for me in the magistrate court," Faheem told the court.
Sabauddin Ahmed also told the court that he would like Naqvi to defend him in the case.
Faheem and Sabauddin, both operatives of Lashkar-e-Tayiba, who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police, have been accused of providing support for the November 26 terror strikes in which 183 people were killed.
Image: Anjali Waghmare | Photograph: Arun Patil