On February 20, just three days after a prominent Malayalam actor was abducted and allegedly raped in a moving car, the prime accused in the case Pulsar Suni alias Sunil Kumar filed for anticipatory bail at the Kerala High Court.
Through his counsel EC Poulose, Suni and the other two accused, Vijeesh and Manikandan, claimed innocence and maintained that they were being framed by another accused Martin.
Even as the investigating team launched a massive hunt for the accused, advocate EC Poulose told media that Suni had visited him at his residence on February 19, the morning after the crime. Suni had given the counsel, EC Poulose, and his wife Bobby, a cover, which had his passport, identity cards and a mobile phone. According to reports, Suni is said to have transferred the video of the assault to the memory card of this mobile phone.
On Monday, The Times of India reported that EC Poulose had turned witness in the case and is no longer Suni's counsel.
When The News Minute reached out to Poulose, the lawyer said that he had handed over all the material Suni entrusted him with, to the court.
"According to section 161 CrPC, the police recorded mine and my wife's statement. We had already submitted a cover that Suni gave us, to the court. After verifying the materials, we signed the inventory. This automatically made us witnesses in the case and we cease to become his lawyers," Poulose said.
Poulose maintained that he met Suni in court after the police arrested him on February 23.
"I was allowed to speak to him for 10 minutes and he told me that he has lost the trust in me. He told me that he had given me the material thinking that it would be safe with me. Now that he does not have enough trust in me, he said that he was employing another lawyer. That was the last time I spoke to him," advocate Poulose said.
How can a lawyer turn witness in a case?
A Kerala High Court lawyer TNM spoke to said that no lawyer enjoys immunity when it comes to concealing or hiding of evidence and that Poulose must have turned witness to safeguard himself.
"All offences are committed against the state and a lawyer is not expected to hide any evidence. Concealment of material evidence is a crime, which could invite a legal case against the lawyer himself under section 201 (shielding)," another lawyer said on condition of anonymity.
Saying that the lawyer is not protected by provisions for privileged communication, the lawyer added that this development has added weight to the case against the prime accused.
"When the lawyer has given a statement to the police that the accused himself gave him the mobile phone (evidence), the case becomes stronger against Suni. The police can easily establish this and I strongly suspect that the police might have coaxed him into doing so."