It took nearly eight months to bring Dhasvanth, the accused in the sexual assault and murder of seven-year-old Hasini to court. The bereaved father of the victim, who shifted to Andhra Pradesh after the brutal crime has been travelling back and forth to ensure that his daughter gets justice. But now, it seems likely that the court which has framed charges, will push the case further. And the reason - Dhasvanth's lawyer Vijayakumar has told the court that he is traveling to Australia.
According to Kannadasan, the advocate representing Hasini's father Justice Venugopal, the judge handling the case in the Chengalpet court, told him during a hearing on Monday that the trial date maybe fixed in January. A junior advocate from Dhasvanth's counsel then requested that the trial be pushed to February.
"I immediately opposed it," says advocate Kannadasan. "I informed the judge that this entire family has relocated to Andhra Pradesh following this incident because they fear their safety. In addition to this, a long gap gives the accused time to tamper with the evidence," he adds.
The court has now fixed the date for hearing on November 20. The date of trial is likely to be fixed then.
Hasini's father who has put his faith in the judiciary had told TNM earlier that delaying the trial was an emotional burden on the family. There was even an altercation between the father and accused on October 7, when the hearing began. The accused allegedly smiled tauntingly at Hasini's father while passing him in the corridor, agitating the complainant.
An investigating officer handling the case told TNM that all efforts are being undertaken by the department to ensure a speedy trial. TNM had reported that the evidence against the accused was strong and thoroughly explained in the chargesheet filed by the police earlier.
But despite this assurance, the complainant's counsel is weary of delay in justice.
"It seems likely that the case will get pushed to next year," says Kannadasan, worried. "How can an important case which involves the life of a child be delayed, just so the lawyer can go abroad?" he asks.
Dhasvanth, who was detained under the Goondas Act, was granted bail in September.
On March 20, even as investigations were underway, police slapped the Goondas act against Dhasvanth. His father had applied for his bail in a Mahila Court in Chengalpet even before the police had booked Dhasvanth under the Goondas Act.
Dhasvanthâ€™s father had then filed a habeas corpus petition in front of the Madras High Court. The court accused the police of not responding to the petition filed by the father on time and of delaying the case. It further added that this was against the rights of the petitioner, thus granting him bail.