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(Un)fair trial? Abu Jundal denied legal aid

Dailybhhaskar.com   |  Dec 08, 2012, 13:11PM IST
Mumbai: A day after the terror accused and suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba activist Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abul Jundal, sought free legal aid from Jamait-ul-Ulema, the NGO officials have refused to assist him. 
 
According to media reports, Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (JUM) provides free legal aid to over 300 Muslims arrested in 34 terror cases around the country.
 
NGO officials said Abu Jundal's claims of innocence are not convincing.
 
Quoting JUM's legal head, media reports state that as a rule, it does not accept cases seeking legal help if the accused have a criminal record.
 
Jundal is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail and was produced in the Mumbai court through a video conference.
 
When the judge asked Jundal if he had engaged a lawyer, he replied that he wanted free legal aid from Jamait-ul-Ulema which provided the same to other accused.
 
The judge then informed Jundal that defence lawyer Ansar Tamboli of the NGO, who represented other accused in the same case was present in court and he could talk to him.
 
Jundal then made an oral request to the lawyer who asked him to write an application seeking free legal aid.
 
The court also extended the judicial remand of 21 other accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case produced before it, besides that of Jundal, to November 30.
 
Meanwhile, in a statement here, Jamait-ul-Ulema said that it would provide free legal aid to Abu Jundal, provided he approached them with a written application. It also said that it would scrutinise his application and case papers before providing legal aid to him.
 
Jundal, who was deported from Saudi Arabia earlier this year has been booked in several cases, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Aurangabad Arms haul case. Chargesheets have been filed in both cases.
 
The secretary of Jamait-ul-Ulema's legal cell Gulzar Azmi said that it had not received any application from Jundal or his family members so far. The NGO's policy is to provide free legal aid provided it is convinced that the accused is innocent. In this case also, the same yardstick would be applied, he said.
 
(With PTI inputs)
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