Rape-accused Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav took the court by surprise on Monday by moving an application asking for re-examination of all witnesses. The court was to hear final arguments in the case on February 16.
The 32-year-old cab driver was accused of raping his passenger on December 5 last year.
Advocate DK Misra, who is representing the accused, moved an application before the additional sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja, claiming that Yadav’s previous attorney had not provided the alleged rapist with a “proper defence”.
“It is apparent that the accused did not have sufficient time to prepare his legal defence and everything was rushed in the case,” he has alleged, and added that “justice hurried is justice buried”.
After hearing heated arguments on the application for nearly two hours, the judge fixed February 18 as the date to pronounce her order on the application.
Misra told the court that there were “fabrications, serious manipulations, plantation, falsification, and manufacturing of and tampering with evidence”, which could only be brought to light “by recalling the prosecution witnesses for cross-examination.”
Misra voiced his concern against Yadav’s previous advocate and called him “novice” — who had enrolled into the Bar in September 2014. He alleged that while cross-examining the prosecution witnesses, “the advocate asked those questions which… incriminated the accused person and severely and irreparably damaged his legal defence.”
He further listed out several material discrepancies in the Delhi police’s chargesheet and the documents annexed along with it.
He also alleged that the Delhi police “deliberately prejudiced the accused”.
Misra said that the investigating officer had listed out Yadav’s criminal history and the list of cases filed against him but without any word of their outcome.
The investigating officer failed to mention that Yadav was acquitted in the other rape case filed against him in Delhi, while the one registered against him in Manipuri is still at charge stage.
The plea was opposed by senior public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava. “A change of defence counsel is not a ground for recall of witnesses,” Shrivastava argued, adding that the accused was simply using delay tactics to avoid completion of the present trial.