The accused in the Delhi gangrape case seem to be playing musical chairs with their lawyers.
In what is the third round of changes since trial began in a fast-track court two months ago, Akshay Thakur reverted to his earlier lawyer, AP Singh, whom he had dropped two weeks ago and appointed ML Sharma in his place.
Today Singh submitted to the court a signed undertaking by Akshay Thakur appointing him lawyer.
When asked by the judge who his lawyer was, Thakur pointed at AP Singh.
It may be recalled that on 20 March, two of the accused Mukesh, brother of main accused Ram Singh who was found hanging in his prison cell, and Akshay Thakur had appointed ML Sharma replacing VK Anand and AP Singh respectively. (Read full report here)
Advocate Singh told reporters outside the courtroom that he was approached by Akshay Thakur's family last evening and they requested him to fight Akshay Thakur's case.
Making an unusual request before the court, Singh filed an application seeking it to direct authorities of Tihar Jail, where the accused are lodged, not to allow any lawyer other than himself to meet his two clients — Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
The judge has sought comments of the jail authorities in response to Singh's application.
Curiously, as today's court proceedings concluded, Akshay Thakur, seeking permission to speak to the judge, complained that he was being threatened and abused by a jail official. The judge directed him to give his complaint in writing.
In other developments in the case, accused Vinay Sharma has applied for interim bail for two days to appear for the Air Force Category C entrance examination scheduled on 7 April.
The court will hear his bail plea tomorrow.
Today a sub-inspector of the Vasant Kunj North police station who was on emergency duty on the night the crime was committed was cross-examined by defence counsel ML Sharma, who is representing Mukesh.
In reponse to the defence counsel's question on the sequence of events after witness had received information of the crime, he told the court, "After receipt of the information I rushed to the spot along with a constable. When I reached the spot I did not find the victims as they had already been taken in the PCR Van to the hospital. I went to the hospital thereafter as I was investigating the call."
He went on to add, "I met the complainant thereafter for the first time. He was under treatment and he was unable to talk properly as his wound was being stitched by the doctor... As I started enquiring the facts from the complainant, the doctor asked me not to talk to him as his wounds were being stitched. When I first saw the complainant his body was covered with white sheet and a wound on his head was being stitched by doctors who were standing nearby."
The sub inspector told the court that he reached Safdarjung Hospital at around 1.25 am and he had informed Inspector Raj Kumari (additional SHO, Vasant Kunj North Police station) of the incident about 5-7 minutes after he had reached.
He told the court that he was not allowed to meet the victim as she was undergoing treatment in a ward where men were not allowed.
"Though I was refused by the doctor to meet the victim, I had seen the MLC of the victim in the MLC book. In fact, the doctors had informed me that the victim was in bad shape."
The sub-inspector told the court that Inspector Raj Kumari arrived at the ward where the victim was admitted soon after and went inside.
"She came out of the ward and the GRR building within 25 minutes along with a lady doctor, who informed me that during her career of 20 years she had not seen such injuries on anyone."
He denied defence counsel Sharma's suggestion that the time of his arrival at the hospital that was recorded in his earlier statement to the police on 17 December, 2012, was manipulated. "It is wrong to suggest that PM was changed to AM in my statement"
He also denied the defence's claim that he had never visited the hospital on that night.
The court will resume hearing the case tomorrow.