The final arguments in the Uber cab rape case would begin next week with a Delhi court today closing recording of defence evidence after the accused driver attempted to delay the matter again by seeking adjournment.
The newly-appointed defence counsel also sought further adjournment of the hearing for a month saying he has to prepare his defence. He also asked why this case was being treated as an “exception” and trial conducted on a daily basis.
The application for adjournment was vehemently opposed by Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava who said the plea was nothing but an attempt to delay the matter. Speedy trial was not just for the accused, but also for the victims who were the real sufferers in such cases, he said.
The court dismissed the adjournment plea and warned defence counsel D K Mishra not to make personal comments and stick to the point without “crossing limits”.
Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja, who had earlier allowed the accused’s plea to examine himself as a defence witness and had fixed it for today, asked driver Shiv Kumar Yadav if he wanted to examine himself.
The judge called Yadav, who was present in the court, and said “tell me you want to examine yourself as defence witness today or not. Otherwise I will close defence evidence”.
To this, Yadav said he was not prepared for recording his statement as witness and alleged that he was being repeatedly beaten up by jail inmates and claimed that it was due to media’s misreporting in the case.
“I am not in a position to record my statement as defence witness. I am being repeatedly beaten up in jail and nothing is being done. This is happening with me due to these people (reporters). Why do they come here, then report incorrectly about the case. Because of them I am being beaten up in the jail,” Yadav alleged.
The court, which had in the last hearing too given time to Yadav’s advocate to prepare himself for defence evidence, asked him if he was going ahead with it. The counsel replied in negative.
The judge then closed the defence evidence and fixed the case for February 16 for hearing final arguments, beginning with the prosecution.