A court in New Delhi on Monday allowed the plea of top Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy seeking the presence of his lawyer during his custodial interrogation, a submission which was opposed by the Delhi Police.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja allowed the application on the condition that the counsel shall not cause any interference in the process of interrogation.
The court said that the counsel should remain present at a "visual distance" only which would be decided by the investigation officer.
It noted that Ghandy's counsel Vishal Gosain has undertaken that he shall remain at a distance from the accused during the course of questioning and that no disturbance of any nature, whatsoever, shall be caused by his presence. The court had on October 9 reserved its order on 59-year-old Ghandy's plea for the presence of his counsel during his custodial interrogation by police.
Ghandy, whose release was reportedly demanded by Maoists along with their two other leaders in exchange for abducted Jharkhand police Inspector Francis Induwar who was later killed, has been sent to police custody till October 15.
In his plea, Gosain had submitted that it was fundamental rule of law under the Constitution that the service of a lawyer would be made available for consultation to any person during custodial interrogation.
"In view of the frail nature of applicant's health, the counsel should be allowed to be present to watch the proceedings from a distance without making any interference during the interrogation," he had argued.
Public prosecutor Naveen Kumar had opposed the plea stating that the very purpose of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act would be impeded if presence of the counsel is allowed during his interrogation.
He also referred to the charges that Ghandy, arrested on September 20 from Delhi, had worked for banned CPI (Maoist) as its Central Committee member.