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Mumbai: Court rejects gangster’s plea seeking English translation of Marathi chargesheet

Lakdawala, accused in a murder case, said in his plea before the special court that he could not read Marathi and he is accustomed to English.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
July 15, 2021 10:35:39 am
The court added that while the prosecution is bound to provide copies of police reportsmand other documents to the accused as per the Criminal Procedure Code, there is no provision to direct the investigation officer to provide copies in the language known to the accused.

The language of a chargesheet to be provided to an accused became a contentious issue before a special court on Wednesday after gangster Ejaz Lakdawala facing a murder case sought an English translation of a Mumbai police chargesheet filed in Marathi.

Lakdawala’s plea before the special court said that he could not read Marathi and he is accustomed to English. He further said that he had
seen the sessions court in another matter directing the investigating agency to provide translations of the chargesheet to a foreign
national.

Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat representing the CBI opposed Lakdawala’s plea stating that the language of the sessions court is not English but Marathi. He further said that the CBI had filed a chargesheet in English and there were only a few documents filed from a previous chargesheet by the Mumbai police which were in Marathi. He further said that the plea was filed as an attempt to create a nuisance for the court.

The court rejected Lakdawala’s plea. “…during arguments, the accused (Lakdawala) stated that he was born and brought up in Mumbai. He can very well understand Marathi language,” the court said. It added that while the prosecution is bound to provide copies of police reportsmand other documents to the accused as per the Criminal Procedure Code, there is no provision to direct the investigation officer to provide copies in the language known to the accused.

“The official language of this Court is Marathi and the investigation conducted by the Mumbai Police was also in Marathi. In fact, the
prosecution has provided the copy of the chargesheet of the CBI and even the copies of the previous charge-sheet to the accused. There is no provision in Cr.P.C. to direct the investigation officer to provide the copies of the charge-sheet in the language known to the accused. Consequently, the prosecution cannot be directed to provide the translated copies of the chargesheet in English to the accused,” the special court said.

The court further added that Lakdawala was representing himself in the case and had refused to engage a lawyer from the Legal Aid Panel when asked by the court. The court said that Lakdawala can take the assistance of the Legal Services Authority in this regard.

Lakdawala was arrested in January 2020 from Patna after he had been on the run for over two decades.

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