Chhota Rajan
Chhota Rajan

Mumbai: A special court on Wednesday said that its official language is Marathi and refused the plea of former underworld don Chhota Rajan’s associate Ejaz Lakdawala in a 1997 murder case, who had sought a translated copy in English of supplementary chargesheet filed against him.

It said further that there is no provision under the Criminal Procedure Code to provide the chargesheet in the language known to the accused.

Lakdawala claimed he could not read the chargesheet that was in Marathi as he was accustomed to English. He argued that previously the sessions court had directed translated chargesheet to be provided to an accused who was a foreign national.

The previous probe in the case had been conducted by the Mumbai police, which files its chargesheets in Marathi. After the extradition of Chhota Rajan in 2015 from Indonesia, the CBI had taken over all cases related to him and has been filing supplementary chargesheets in English, while attaching the previous probe papers of the Mumbai police. Lakdawala, who was absconding, was arrested early last year and a supplementary chargesheet was filed against him too.

The court said that thus, the prosecution cannot be directed to provide translated copies of the chargesheet in English to him, but that he can take help from the Legal Aid Services Authority in this regard. I noted that earlier an option was given to him to engage an advocate from legal aid panel, but that he had refused.

The CBI had opposed his plea and argued that the language of the sessions court is Marathi and not English and that the accused had spent majority of his life in Mumbai. It said that the plea was an attempt to create nuisance for the court and the prosecution.

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