HYDERABAD: Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Dubbak M. Raghunandan Rao said that he is ready to join the prosecution team in the Jubilee Hills gangrape case to ensure justice if the victim seeks his services. The BJP’s man of the moment, after having forced the police to take cognizance of the presence of an MLA’s son as one of the culprits in the case, told Deccan Chronicle: "It does not matter what they will choose to call me — an assistant to the public prosecutor, or anything else. And I will not charge a single penny for joining the efforts in ensuring justice to the victim."
Rao, however, made it clear that any contribution from his side will be possible only if the victim seeks his assistance, which she will need to do through the public prosecutor. "In criminal cases, there is no opportunity to implead. If the victim asks, I will work for the victim," he said.
In an interview, the BJP MLA downplayed his role in outing the evidence against the MLA’s son in the case saying it was a falsehood to say that he was the first to have those videos.
Saying it was disingenuous for the police to say that they did not see the video before he released a clip at a press conference, Raghunandan Rao said: "The videos were seen by the police first, including the DCP. It was only when they tried to hush them up to shield the prime accused, who is the MLA’s son, that I exposed a part of the video that forced the police to include the MLA’s son as the sixth accused in the case."
Rao said he was disappointed with the commissioner of police C.V. Anand for ignoring the fact that senior police officers, such as A.R. Srinivas, D.S. Chouhan and Joel Davis, without conducting an investigation, gave a clean chit to the MLA’s son in the case and declared that the home minister’s grandson was not involved in the episode. They tried to shield the prime accused, who is now named an accused by the commissioner.
"The CP should have issued a show cause notice to these officers for jumping the gun. Or at least, said what kind of departmental action will be taken for such premature conclusions in a case like this," he said, adding that in the situation, Joel Davis, the DCP, should have been removed as the supervisor investigating the case. "As a legislator, I want to know what action will be taken against these police officers," he said.
On whether he would continue working for victims such as the 17-year-old minor girl in the Jubilee Hills rape case, Rao said, "I will definitely work for those who do not have a voice of their own, don’t have the muscle to take on the powerful. Irrespective of who the girl is, poor or rich, from Hyderabad or elsewhere, I would like to represent the people who do not have a voice."
The BJP MLA also wanted to know why the police did not issue summons to the owners of the red Mercedes Benz or the Innova, the cars used in the crime. "There is vicarious liability, and the owners of the cars are culpable under that, even if not directly part of the crime. What about the person who drove the Innova to the farmhouse? What about the farmhouse owner? Why have these people not been summoned for questioning or charged in the case?" he asked.
Rao also said that the commissioner of police overstepped his brief by declaring the punishments that the accused will get. He said that the officials’ job is to collect evidence and present it to the competent court, and it is for the court to declare the punishment.
"All Mr Anand has done is for optics, to create an illusion that culprits are staring at severe punishment. But the police did everything to water down the evidence," Rao said.