Judge removes lawyer in Mumbai attacks trial

A judge in India on Monday removed the lawyer representing the sole surviving gunman of last year’s Mumbai attacks, accusing him of wasting time and failing to cooperate with the court.

Judge ML Tahaliyani said lawyer Abbas Kazmi was “not cooperating with the court” and “trying to drag the trial and consuming the time of the court”, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Kazmi and special state prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam have argued for days over a technicality relating to the filing of affidavits and recording of evidence.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, who is on trial accused of being one of 10 Islamist gunmen who stormed Mumbai last November, killing 166 people, would now be defended by Kazmi’s state-appointed assistant, the judge said.

The move came three days after Kazmi apologised in court for lying.

“Kazmi has developed a feeling that he has become indispensable and without him the trial cannot go on. This gives the wrong signal to everyone,” Tahaliyani said.

In July, Kasab told the court that he was ready to accept the death penalty, but the judge ruled it was a partial admission to the 86 charges filed against him and that the trial should continue.

Kazmi was appointed in April after Kasab’s previous court-appointed lawyer was dismissed over a conflict of interest.—AFP

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