The Bombay high court on Tuesday expedited the appeal against the conviction of Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, after he told the court he has faced a lot of prejudice after being convicted and wants to "start life afresh".
Ahuja was arrested in 2009 after his 20-year-old domestic help accused him of raping her. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, but was later released on bail till such time that his appeal against the conviction would be heard.
Ahuja's counsel Ashok Mundargi on Tuesday said the DNA test results, the domestic help's evidence as well as the circumstantial evidence did not support the case against him.
"Let the man start his life afresh. There has been a lot of prejudice against him," Mundargi argued.
Ahuja had moved court seeking to expedite his appeal against conviction on the grounds that the delay is tormenting him, that has been unemployed since then and that he has a wife, daughter and ailing parents to take care of.
His application stated that the investigation by the police was biased and the investigating officer did not feel the need to examine the call data records and CCTV evidence that supported his case. Further, it stated that appeals from the year 2000 are being heard right now and his was filed in 2011. Therefore, there is no chance of it being heard for years to come.
The court held that the conviction cannot stand if there is no evidence. It then disposed of the actor's application with a direction to place the appeal for hearing on December 17.