A city-based NGO has declined to provide free legal assistance to terror accused and suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba activist Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abul Jundal, an NGO official said Friday.
The Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, which provided free legal aid to over 300 Muslims arrested in 34 terror cases around the country, said that Abu Jundal's claims of innocence are not convincing.
JUM legal head, advocate Shahid Nadeem Ansari, said that as a rule, it does not accept cases seeking legal help if the accused have a criminal record.
"In the case of our free legal aid to 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks co-accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, we were convinced they were innocent. Later, they were acquitted by the special court, the Bombay High Court and even the Supreme Court," Ansari pointed out.
As far as Abu Jundal's matter is concerned, Ansari said that the JUM legal cell studied in detail his case. "Our legal team is not convinced of his innocence, so we have rejected his appeal for legal aid," he said.
Last week, a Special Court of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Activities (MCOCA) Act had heard the appeal by Jundal for seeking legal aid from JUM.
Special Judge S. V. Modak Nov 30 directed the Tihar Jail authorities in New Delhi to render all assistance to Jundal in his efforts to seek legal aid from JUM, and posted further hearing of the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, in which Jundal is a prime accused, to Friday (Dec 7).
Ansari said that Jundal, through his mother Rehana and uncle, had approached JUM to defend him in the Aurangabad arms haul case, in which 21 other co-accused have benefited through its legal team.
The JUM's decision was conveyed to Jundal Friday, when he was presented before the Special MCOCA Court via video-conferencing from Tihar Jail, where he is currently lodged.
Modak has now posted the matter for further hearing Dec 15.
The JUM is currently providing free legal aid to several accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case, the 7/11 Mumbai serial blasts, the 2006 Malegaon blast, and other cases involving the Indian Mujahiddeen in New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Uttar Pradesh.