The trial in the sensational Uber cab rape case which has witnessed several twists and turns would enter its final stage, with a Delhi court slated to commence hearing final arguments from today.
The trial in the case, which came to light after the December 5 last year incident, had begun before Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja on January 15 with the court recording statement of the victim as a prosecution witness.
While on one hand, the prosecution completed recording of its evidence as part of the fast-track trial in just 17 days, the defence apparently made several attempts to delay the proceedings.
In one such instance, the court dismissed a plea moved by the counsel for driver Shiv Kumar Yadav seeking to adjourn the proceedings for a month to enable him to prepare himself, arguing that “speedy trial” in the case was affecting the fundamental right of the accused.
“I am unable to agree with the submissions of defence counsel that a ‘speedy trial’, which has been deferred time and again as per the request of defence itself, could in any manner adversely affect the fundamental right of the accused, as alleged,” the judge had observed in a recent order, dismissing the plea.
“The court’s only endeavour has been to comply with the provisions of the CrPC, as far as possible while ensuring the right of the accused to a fair trial. The application under consideration appears to have been moved in order to delay the proceedings, for reasons best known to the applicant,” the court had said while refusing to grant any adjournment.
On February 11, the court had closed defence evidence in the case observing that Yadav had attempted to delay the proceedings again by seeking adjournment. The apparent delaying tactics of the accused was evident on another occasion when the accused informed the court that he would examine his wife as witness in his defence but on the next hearing, he dropped her as witness.
Later, Yadav moved a plea to examine himself as a defence witness but when the court refused to grant him adjournments, he also dropped himself saying he did not wish to examine anyone.
During the proceedings, he also created drama in the court several times, including his refusal to sign the order sheet on framing of charges against him. He did so only after being counselled by his advocate and getting court’s assurances.
Several times, he alleged that he was being attacked by inmates in jail and prison van, prompting the court to order separate space for him in the jail van.
In another hearing, he threatened to assault the mediapersons present in the court room alleging that it was due to their “misreporting” he was being beaten up by the prison inmates.
The court has already recorded statements of 28 prosecution witnesses including the victim who had identified Yadav as the one who had raped her. It has also recorded the testimony of the accused in which he termed the charge against him as “false”.
The court on January 13 had framed charges against Yadav under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for alleged offences of endangering a woman’s life while raping her, kidnapping with an intent to compel her for marriage, criminally intimidating and causing hurt.
If convicted in the case, Yadav faces a maximum of life imprisonment as punishment.