The Bombay High Court has taken up for final hearing an appeal filed by Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja against his conviction in a rape case.
The appeal came up for hearing on January 8 before Justice Abhay Thipsay, who heard briefly the arguments of Shiney's lawyers Ashok Mundargi and Manoj Mohite.
The lawyers said that the trial court had wrongly pronounced the actor guilty.
Shiney was convicted in March 2011 by a Mumbai fast track court, which sentenced him to seven-and-a-half years term in jail for allegedly raping his maid at his home in 2009. The actor had filed the appeal in 2012 when his lawyer sought expeditious hearing. However, the appeal came for final hearing only last week.
In his appeal, Shiney claimed that though the alleged victim had retracted her statement and denied the allegation of rape in the court during trial, the trial judge had wrongly convicted him in the case.
The defence lawyers argued that prosecution had relied on DNA and forensic tests which were full of infirmities. Mundergi said he would go into the details of the infirmities at a later stage of arguments.
The actor pleaded that the police had failed to seek the phone call data record of the maid, which, he said, would prove that the allegations against him were "wrong". Also, the police did not rely on CCTV footage that supported his defence, Shiney claimed.
In his appeal, the actor argued that the extent of bias against him was evident in the cross-examination of the investigating officer, who had deposed saying he "did not feel it necessary to investigate the CDR" or the footage.
The actor's appeal said the chain of custody of swabs, which is vital to a DNA test report in a criminal trial, was not followed. Moreover, a witness had stated that "there was no record of taking or giving seal" for the swab vial and the report on a swab in which no DNA was found had "disappeared".
Shiney's lawyers argued that the findings of the trial court were "contradictory and inconclusive". They said the chemical analyst had said in his deposition that "the DNA of the victim was not matched with the mixed sample as there was not enough sample to do the matching", while a doctor said "there was enough sample".
The actor was not present in the court during the arguments on January 8.
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