HC expedites Shiney Ahuja plea against conviction

Bombay High Court has expedited an appeal by actor Shiney Ahuja against a lower court verdict jailing him in a rape case. Shiney pleaded pendency of the "frivolous conviction" was tormenting him and he wanted to start life afresh.

The actor moved HC after he was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment by a fast-track sessions court in March 2011 for raping a domestic help in 2009 despite the victim turning hostile.

His counsel Ashok Mundargi argued DNA test results and circumstantial evidence did not support the case.

"Let him start life afresh... There has been a lot of prejudice against him."

Justice A M Thipsay observed Tuesday if there was no evidence, the conviction cannot stand. However, the court would decide only after hearing arguments of both sides, he said and fixed the matter for early hearing on December 17.

Shiney (38) contended the police investigation was "one-sided and biased" and the investigating officer did not feel the need to examine call data records (CDRs) and CCTV evidence supporting his case since it would have been a drawback for the prosecution.

"The trial court too failed to direct the investigating officer to produce CDRs and CCTV evidence that would have brought out the truth that no rape was committed," he said.

The actor said he had made a conscious decision to come clean before going back to his profession and that he "continues to be unemployed".

Shiney said he had to look after his old and ailing parents, wife and five-year-old daughter and "the pendency of a frivolous conviction is tormenting".

He contended appeals of 2000 were now being heard while his appeal pertained to 2011. Hence, there was no chance of it being heard in some years to come, he said.

Shiney said he was framed in a "frivolous" case and the worst possible damage had been done to him.

... contd.

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