MUMBAI: Anjali Waghmare, the lawyer assigned to the prime accused in the Mumbai terror strike Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, was Wednesday removed on grounds of "conflict of interest" by the Special Court hearing the case.
Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani said it was "highly inappropriate" behaviour on her part to keep the Special Court in the dark. It was a reference to Waghmare agreeing to represent a witness who has been listed to depose in the matter.
Though Waghmare had earlier denied that she was planning to represent a witness, a Mumbai lawyer had last week filed a complaint before the Special Court pointing to a conflict of professional interests since Waghmare would be representing both the accused and a witness.
Her fate was sealed when Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted a sealed cover, purported to contain a copy of her 'vakalatnama' agreeing to represent a witness in the case.
Waghmare is a government lawyer appointed by the Special Court from the Legal Aid Committee to represent Kasab, the only terrorist to be captured alive in the Mumbai terror carnage, as he had no lawyer nor could afford one.
The wife of a Mumbai Police official, Waghmare's appointment led to controversy with the Shiv Sena demonstrating outside her home in Worli. Later, with the intervention of top police and political officials and assurance of high security, she agreed to fight the case.
IANS could not get in touch with her as her mobile phone was switched off.
The trial in the case started Wednesday under a blanket of security with hundreds of media personnel looking on. Kasab was scheduled to appear in the court, at the Arthur Road Jail complex where Kasab and the other two accused are kept behind bars.