Murder accused, who has lost faith in lawyers, decides to fight case himself

The 50-year-old, accused of brutally murdering a man to avenge his mother’s death, has chosen to represent himself after two of his former lawyers were allegedly negligent in filing his bail application

A man accused of chasing down and murdering a 26-year-old with a chopper is now representing himself in the trial, as he has “lost faith in advocates”. The 50-year-old accused claimed he decided to defend himself after he was short-changed by two of his former lawyers, resulting in him not getting bail.

Jadhav is among those who were accused of chasing down and killing Amit Udgare to avenge their mother’s murder
Jadhav is among those who were accused of chasing down and killing Amit Udgare to avenge their mother’s murder

Blood feud
In the ongoing trial, Prakash Jadhav, his brother (Shantaram), sister (Shalini) and her son (Sagar) stand accused of brutally murdering the victim, Amit Udgare, in Ghatkopar in May, 2012. (‘Seeking revenge for mother’s death, man kills 26-year-old’, mid-day, May 15, 2012)

mid-day’s report on May 15, 2012
mid-day’s report on May 15, 2012

The murder was allegedly an act of vengeance, and Prakash’s family had long held a grudge against the victim, said police. Prakash’s mother had been murdered in 2010 and Amit’s brother was allegedly involved.

When Amit paid for the legal expenses and ensured that his brother made bail, Prakash and his family were infuriated, the police claimed. Speaking to mid-day during his last hearing on December 2, Prakash said, “I first appointed a well-known advocate who charged a lot of money, but my bail application was rejected twice.

Then, I appointed a woman to represent me, who again charged around R50,000, but she did not even file an application for bail and did not return my money either. This is the reason I lost faith in advocates. Now, I am going to fight for myself.”

Flying solo
In September this year, when the trial for Amit’s murder began, Prakash filed an application stating he didn’t want any lawyer or amicus curiae (friend of the court) to defend him, as he had lost faith in lawyers. Instead, he wanted to appear in person to defend his case. Judge A A Khan granted him permission to do so, and Prakash began to represent both himself and his brother, Shantaram.

The first witness who was deposed was Hiralal Patel, the deceased’s uncle, and a plaintiff in the case. Prakash’s examination of the witness has been so thorough far longer than the public prosecutor’s that the cross-examination records have already crossed 70 pages, but Prakash is still not done.

However, the court has now appointed an amicus curiae, or a legal guide of sorts for Prakash and his brother. Advocate Apeksha Vora, who is currently serving as the legal representative for both Shantaram and Shalini, was asked by the judge to stand in as amicus curiae for Prakash in the case.

Delay in justice
While the trial of Prakash and his family began in September this year, their mother’s murder trial has been delayed for four years. Though the trial began in 2010, the case has been delayed time and again, and so far, no witnesses have been deposed in court. The next hearing date for their mother’s murder case is January 28, 2015.

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