Twenty-four years after being charged with killing two colleagues and sentenced to life imprisonment, former Navy personnel will now undergo a fresh trial with the Supreme Court dismissing his appeal against a Bombay High Court order.
K D S Bedi's plea that it would be a miscarriage of justice if he was forced to stand 'de nova trial´ after 24 years failed to convince the vacation bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam which in a terse order said there was no merit in the petition.
This is one of the rarest cases in the country's legal history that somebody would be subjected to a fresh trial for an offence-committed quarter a century ago.
The impact of a fresh trial is that each of the witnesses will have to be examined and cross-examined afresh, arguments heard, plea recorded and the defence would lead its evidence. In other words, the trial would start from the scratch.
This obviously puts an unbearable strain on the accused, who after a lapse of a quarter century, would be required to establish his innocence.
In this instant case, Bedi, who was commissioned in the India Navy as "Midshipman", was charged with gunning down two of his colleagues -- Om Prakash Dube, Midshipman and Hanuman Singh, Loading Seaman and Sentry on board INS-Ranjit, which was alongside Bombay Harbour after a row.