Mumbai: After running from pillar to post to get justice for his slain son, Amarnath Grover, who had requested for an experienced lawyer to fight the case in which Kannada actress Maria Susairaj and her fiancé were acquitted of murder charge, has now been told by Maharashtra Government to pay the fees for special prosecutor.
"How can the government ask me to pay for the prosecutor? The prosecution failed before the trial court. I only wanted a competent and experienced lawyer who would place before the court all the evidence and bring the case to its logical end," said a shocked 61-year-old Amarnath.
25-year-old Neeraj Grover was brutally murdered in 2008 allegedly by Susairaj and her naval officer fiancé Emile Jerome. The trial court had on July 01 acquitted the two on the charge of murdering Neeraj. But it sent the fiancé to ten years imprisonment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced Susairaj to three years in jail for destruction of evidence.
While Jerome continues to be in jail, Susairaj was released on July 02 as she had spent more time in jail as an under trial. Both Susairaj and Jerome have approached Bombay High Court challenging their conviction and the state government too has sought enhancement of sentence for the duo.
Considering the trial court`s observation of weak prosecution, Amarnath requested the state government to appoint a senior and experienced prosecutor to fight the case in the high court.
Amarnath, who runs a photocopy shop on Mall road in Kanpur, said that on August 30 he received a letter from the Home Department asking him to spell out the reasons behind wanting a special public prosecutor and that he would have to bear the expenses of any such appointment.
"I replied to the government that my family is not financially sound and cannot afford appointment of special prosecutors and that my only request was for a competent lawyer. I am yet to receive a reply from the government. I have lost my young son and my family only wants justice for him," he said.
Government officials, however, termed it as a normal procedure and said such pleas are not entertained regularly. "If the complainant or the victim or their family approaches the government saying that they do not want the concerned public prosecutor and want to appoint their own lawyer then they will have to bear the expenses of that lawyer.”
"It`s usually the Home or the Law department which examines the request and sends to higher authorities for consent," VL Achliya, secretary, Law and Judiciary department of the government, said.
According to Achliya, once the government gives its consent then a notification is issued and the person has to deposit the amount which is paid to the special public prosecutor upon completion of the case.
"Generally the government does not entertain such requests as then that lawyer becomes like a mouthpiece of the complainant and goes out to just secure a conviction. The job of a prosecutor is to present the evidence and facts before the court which takes the final decision," the secretary said.
The trial court while delivering its judgment had directed both the accused to pay a fine of Rs one lakh each which would be given to the victim’s family as compensation.
"How can the government ask me to pay for the prosecutor? I only wanted a competent and experienced lawyer who would place before the court all the evidence and bring the case to its logical end. The prosecution failed before the trial court. So I requested the government to appoint some lawyer who has at least ten years experience... but that does not mean I asked for a special prosecutor," Amarnath said.
According to the police, Neeraj was stabbed to death by Jerome and Susairaj after the victim got into a feud with the naval officer on May 7, 2008. The alleged murder took place at the suburban residence of Susairaj.
The two accused had allegedly cut the body into several pieces before disposing it off at Manor jungles in the outskirts of the city.