KOLKATA: Dressed in a red FCUK t-shirt and a pair of cotton shorts, Kader Khan, prime accused in the Park Street gangrape case who was finally arrested after remaining on the run for four years, sat in a corner of the court on Friday, his eyes looking for known faces. As a friend waved and grinned at him, Kader smiled back, with a twinkle in his eyes, not a sign of remorse on his face. Sitting by him was his co-accused, Ali Khan, who seemed tense and restive, constantly checking for the judge to take the bench on the raised desk.
As their defence lawyer, Jakir Hussein, rushed through the legal documents, public prosecutor Pijush Kanti Mandal pleaded for the police custody of Kader and Ali. “We want to investigate their roles further. As they had been absconding ever since the incident, the police have to question and plug the holes,” said Mandal.
Hussein attempted to interject when 18th Metropolitan Magistrate Eden Lamasa ordered him to let Mandal finish first. “There is nothing left in the case. There is no reason why they (the accused) should be sent to police custody. A chargesheet has been filed and merit of the case has already been considered by the court. Given that the trial is on, they should be put in judicial custody,” Hussein argued. “There is no scope for them to tamper with any evidence.”
Kader looked on with rapt attention as the public prosecutor Mandal crossed Hussein again: “The police need to know who had helped them while they committed the crime. Who were behind the entire plot? They also need to find out if there was any other accomplice in the heinous act.”
At the end of the arguments, when the judge sent the accused to police custody till October 14, Kader’s face was set like a flint as he stood at the dock. “In similar cases in the past, the judge had sent the accused to judicial custody. As of now, we are not appealing against the order,” Hussein told reporters.