The final arguments in the Uber cab rape case could not commence on Monday in a Delhi court as the accused driver moved a plea seeking to recall all the 28 prosecution witnesses on the ground that he was not given fair opportunity to defend himself.
32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav, who is facing trial for allegedly raping a 25-year-old woman executive in his cab on the night of December 5, 2014, alleged that there were “glaring defects, mistakes and illegalities” requiring recall of all the witnesses to re-cross examine for just and fair decision of the case.
Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja after hearing arguments of the counsel for Yadav and the prosecutor, reserved the order on the plea for February 18.
The court was slated to hear from today the final arguments, which could not commence in view of the fresh application of the accused.
Advocate D K Mishra, who was recently appointed by Yadav to defend himself, argued that “miscarriage of justice” was done to the accused who was not represented properly by the earlier defence counsel.
The plea was opposed by Senior Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava who said a change of defence counsel was no ground to recall the witnesses.
He argued that the accused was trying to delay the trial in the case by moving such applications.
During the arguments, the defence counsel argued it was the legal and lawful right of the accused to get a fair trial.
“But the records reveal that the entire state machinery has tried to secure conviction of the accused without giving him a fair and just opportunity to defend himself,” he said in the application.
He claimed that the previous counsel was a newbie who was not well versed with the criminal trial of such a magnitude and did not conduct the trial in a proper manner.
Seeking to recall all the 28 prosecution witnesses, including the victim, her friend, investigating officer, doctors and forensic experts, Yadav’s counsel said he wanted to cross examine them again to bring out the truth.
“Accused has been falsely implicated in this case at the instance of the vested interests as is apparent from the records and for bringing the truth before this court in the interests of justice, the true and correct material facts need to be brought on record by cross examination of all the prosecution witnesses again by recalling them due to the compelling and peculiar circumstances of this case,” he said.
The counsel also alleged that there were fabrication, manipulation and plantation of evidence and tampering of record or statements in the case.
There were material improvements and contradictions in the statements of the victim made to PCR, police, magistrate and the sessions court and she was required to be cross examined on those aspects, he claimed.
The trial in the case has commenced on January 15 and the prosecution had concluded recording its evidence in 17 days by examining 28 witnesses. The accused had not examined any witness in his defence.
The court had earlier noted in one of its order that the accused appeared to have made an attempt to delay the proceedings by moving applications.
During recording of her statement in the court, the victim had identified Yadav as the one who had raped her.
The court had also recorded the testimony of the accused in which he termed the charge against him as “false”.
The court on January 13 had framed charges against Yadav under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for alleged offences of endangering a woman’s life while raping her, kidnapping with an intent to compel her for marriage, criminally intimidating and causing hurt.