|Accused Ansar Ali arrives in Bankshall court on Friday.
Picture by Bibhash Lodh
The Kamduni rape-and-murder trial, which was shifted to a city court to ensure speedy redress, began on Friday but the focus on the first day of hearing remained on how hard life in jail has been for the accused.
The one-and-a-half-hour session at Bankshall court saw the hearing of two fresh petitions submitted by the lawyer of the eight accused, seeking more security for them.
“The trial is being delayed because of the fresh petitions. The high court (had) mentioned speedy trial while transferring the case from Barasat court to Bankshall court. The crime was committed on June 7, but the hearing of the case has not yet started,” said Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, the lawyer appointed by the victim’s family.
The case was placed before the additional district and sessions judge of Bankshall court, Sanchita Sarkar, around 12.10pm.
“Ansar Ali, one of the accused, was attacked in jail and he had to be taken to hospital for treatment. The security of all eight accused who are now in jail is under threat,” Firoz Edulji, the lawyer of the accused, told the court.
Citing the case of Ajmal Kasab for whose security “the government had deployed commandos in a Mumbai jail and spent several crores”, Edulji stressed the right of the accused to seek protection.
Edulji also referred to the death of an accused in the Delhi gang-rape case and appealed for armed guards to be posted outside the cells of the Kamduni accused in Dum Dum jail. “My clients are scared that they can be served poisoned food. I appeal before the court for their food to be checked before being served,” the lawyer said.
The second petition was for an on-camera trial. Objecting to this, public prosecutor Dipak Ghosh asked: “Is this court authorised to pass such an order?”
The lawyer for the victim objected to both petitions, saying the focus of the case was being diverted.
He also told the court that the victim’s brother, who was present at the hearing, wanted to speak to the judge but she turned down the request, saying it was beyond her capacity.
The order on the petitions will be passed on August 27.