Breaking News
Home / Siasat / Mehrauli killing: Court orders Poonawala’s voice sample test on Dec 26, trashes his opposition

Mehrauli killing: Court orders Poonawala’s voice sample test on Dec 26, trashes his opposition

New Delhi: A Delhi court directed Aaftab Amin Poonawala, accused of killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, to give his voice sample for taking forward the probe in the “sensitive case”, rejecting vehement claims by his counsel that a copy of the application and the time to consult the accused be given before ordering such a test.

The court said a fair investigation is also required in the larger public interest.

Referring various judgments, the court said the consent of an accused is only required for tests like narco analysis, brain mapping and polygraph and that the right to refusal was not available when a voice sample has been sought.

“True, fair trial is right of an accused but it is also true that fair investigation is also required in the larger public interest as the offence cannot escape and crime cannot go unnoticed merely because accused is not ready to aid in the investigation. Thus, the application moved by IO (investigation officer) seeking permission for voice sampling test of accused is allowed,” Metropolitan Magistrate Vijayshree Rathore said.

The magisterial court, meanwhile, also extended Poonawala’s judicial custody by 14 days. He is in judicial custody since November 26.

Poonawala, accused of brutally killing her girlfriend in Delhi’s Mehrauli and dismembering her body, appeared before the court through video conference.

The court rejected the vehement submission of advocate M S Khan, appearing for Poonawala, that a copy of the application besides the time to consult the accused be given before ordering the voice sample test.

The court, which permitted the lawyer to consult Poonawala through video-conference during the proceedings, deprecated the “delaying tactics” and said the right to defence is not available to an accused during the investigation.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the Delhi police, informed the court that the IO has already taken appointment at Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), CBI, Lodhi Colony, for the voice sampling test on December 26 at 10 am.

“Considering the submissions of Special Prosecutor for the State, Superintendent, Tihar Jail is directed to produce the accused before CFSL, CBI Lodhi Colony at 9.45 am sharp for conducting the voice sampling test of accused,” the court said.

It asked the director of the CFSL to conduct the test and submit to the court the result in a sealed cover.

The court said the “compulsory consent” of the accused in handwriting, fingerprints and voice sampling test is not needed and voice samples taken for investigation cannot be considered a “testimonial compulsion”.

“This is just a method by which investigating agency collects the material against the accused for the purpose of attaining ends of justice,” it said.

“Even though accused is not willing to give voice sample for voice sampling test, however, I am of the considered view that accused can still be asked to give the voice sample to investigating agency for reaching the ends of the justice and also for fair investigation,” the magistrate said.

It referred to a judgment of the apex court and said it was observed that the fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and must bow down to compelling public interest.

Observing that sufficient opportunity was granted to the accused to consult his lawyer with reference to the application for voice sampling test, the court said, “It appears that these are merely delaying tactics on part of the accused.”

“It is to be further noted that this is merely an investigation proceeding and the right of accused to defend himself would definitely accrue at the stage of trial where an opportunity of hearing as well as defending himself would definitely be granted to him,” it said.

It also dealt with one of the contentions raised by Poonawala’s counsel that the accused has a right to defend himself, to know what proceedings are going on against him and what material has been collected by the IO for such voice sampling test.

“In this regard, it is worth mentioning that voice sampling test is a part of investigation and is duly recognized by many judgments of Supreme Court of India and accused can be asked to give handwriting, fingerprints, voice sample etc. for the purpose of just and fair investigation’,” the court said, adding that carrying forward the probe is the prerogative of the IO.

It further said, “During investigation stage, only evidence against accused is collected on the basis of which IO comes to the conclusion and files the final report. There is nothing to say that any part of fair trial or fair investigation is being violated. Further, at present the proceedings are being conducted by video conferencing to only to ensure the willingness of the accused to the present application moved by IO for conducting voice sampling test.”

Poonawala, 28, allegedly sawed Walkar’s body into 35 pieces and kept them in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in south Delhi’s Mehrauli before dumping them across the city over several days.

Check Also

India likely to get below normal rains in June as monsoon slows: IMD

New Delhi The average rainfall for the country as a whole is most likely to …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *