In a sudden move, the counsel for incarcerated former Ulhasnagar MLA Suresh Pappu Kalani, who is facing trial for the murder of Ghanshyam Bhatija, informed a sessions court here that he wants to withdraw from the case.
Kalani’s counsel Bhojraj Jeswani, who appeared for the ex-MLA until recently, filed an application in the court yesterday saying he wanted to move out of the case because he was not getting any brief or instructions from the client.
The step taken by Kalani’s lawyer to withdraw from the case comes at a time when the witnesses are to be cross-examined and the trial has reached a crucial stage.
Judge M J Mirza, in the presence of special public prosecutor Vikas Patil-Shirgaonkar, contacted Kalani through video conference to know from him whether he would like his lawyer to move out of the case and whether he was interested in cross-examining the witnesses.
Kalani, who is lodged in Pune’s Yerawada prison, however, initially could not hear anything at his end because of poor connectivity. Later, he told the court that he wanted to appear in person.
However, the judge informed him that it would not be possible to bring him to court every time and that he could appear through video conference. The court also told Kalani that his application for personal appearance was rejected.
The court, while rejecting Kalani’s plea for personal appearance, referred to an earlier incident when he had mixed freely with family and friends while on way to the court from Yerawada jail.
The prosecutor informed the court that an inquiry has been ordered into a recent incident where a picture, taken on mobile when Kalani was last brought to the court for hearing, had gone viral and kicked up a row.
The case has been adjourned for the time being.
Kalani and four others had been convicted and awarded life sentence in 2013 in the murder case of Inder Bhatija. He is currently being tried for the murder of Inder’s brother Ghanshyam Bhatija.
While Ghanshyam (35) was shot dead on February 27, 1990, his younger brother Inder (30) was gunned down two months later on April 28.
Both the murders had taken place in Ulhasnagar town of Thane district. Bhatijas were relatives of Kalani, but the political rivalry between the families led to their murder, according to police.
( Source – PTI )