The controversy over which lawyer would represent sacked Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar, arrested on rape charges, came to an end on Tuesday after the AAP MLA told a special court that he has neither changed his advocate, nor was he assaulted inside the Tihar jail. The issue had cropped up when an advocate had last week claimed that he was authorised by Kumar to represent him and that the legislator was beaten up in jail.
This was denied the same day by the MLA’s wife who had said it was a “political conspiracy” as the lawyer had not been appointed by him. Kumar, who is in judicial custody, was on Tuesday produced before Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry, who had issued production warrant on the application of his counsel Pradeep Rana to clarify on the issue.
When the court asked Kumar as to who is his counsel, Pradeep Rana or A P Singh, the MLA replied he had engaged Rana who was still his counsel. Clarifying on the issue, the MLA said that advocate Singh had come to meet him in jail where he had claimed he was an associate of advocate Rana and asked for his signatures on ‘Vakalatnama’.
Singh, however, claimed that Kumar had authorised him to file the application seeking security due to purported threat to his life. “Since, you (Singh) are not his counsel, how can you argue on his behalf? You withdraw the application,” the court said. The court then dismissed as withdrawn Singh’s plea and observed that “due to this, an unnecessary difficulty has been caused to everybody”.
“Accused on being asked as to who has been engaged and authorised to appear on his behalf, states that he has engaged Pradeep Rana advocate. In view of submissions made by accused, the application moved by A P Singh seeking direction to jail authorities is dismissed as withdrawn,” the judge said. The court also extended the judicial custody of Kumar till October 14.
Kumar was arrested on September 3 after a woman had approached Sultanpuri police station in North Delhi complaining of sexual harassment against the ex-Social Welfare and Women and Child Development minister, following which a case was filed. The woman had figured in an objectionable video with him. The MLA from Sultanpur Majra was removed from AAP government on August 31 by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after the CD surfaced. He had defended himself saying he has been targeted.