While the former solicitor general will get a rupee for SC hearing on Qasab's death penalty, Ujjwal Nikam to get Rs 50,000 per hearing, plus thousands in consultation fees
The Maharashtra government has appointed a panel of two top lawyers in the country to prosecute the sole surviving 26/11 terror attack convict, Ajmal Aamir Qasab, in the Supreme Court hearing. Fixing the fee for Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam, a former solicitor general of the country, at Re 1, it has decided to pay several lakhs to advocate Ujjwal Nikam. The duo will together represent the state in the case.
The great divide: Gopal Subramaniam (above) and Ujjwal Nikam
According to a Government Resolution (GR) issued by state home department, dated August 26 (copy with MiD DAY), the state has informed S V Kharde, advocate in-charge of Maharashtra Sadan at the Supreme Court, of the fee and facilities to be provided to the duo during the hearing of Qasab's case at the SC.
Here's what they will be paid: Advocate Gopal Subramaniam's total fee will be Re 1. However, he can claim for the actual miscellaneous expenses occurred during the period. Advocate Ujjwal Nikam's result-oriented hearing fee will be Rs 50,000 per appearance, besides Rs 10,000 an hour for discussion and exchange of opinion. He will also be getting business-class air travel for visits related to the case, along with a ministerial suite at Maharashtra Sadan in the capital.
Nikam, who was special prosecutor during Qasab's trial last year, admitted to MiD DAY that he had asked the government for the above remuneration for the services he has been asked to render. "Professionally, I don't find anything wrong in it. In the Adarsh enquiry commission, advocates of my stature are getting Rs 1,10,000 per date," Nikam said.
The Bombay High Court has already announced its verdict in the 26/11 case, in which it upheld the death sentence awarded to Qasab by the special anti-terror trial court on MAy 6, 2010 for his involvement in the three-day siege of Mumbai in November, 2008, which claimed 166 lives.
However, the High Court dismissed Maharashtra government's petition against the acquittal of two Indians, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, accused of aiding the crime. The two were let off for want of adequate evidence by the trial court.
On July 28, Qasab had written a letter to the SC, challenging his conviction and death sentence. The state government has filed a fresh appeal against Qasab's appeal to the apex court, and has also challenged the acquittal of the two other alleged terrorists.