Indraini Seth, felt as formidable and unbeaten as her name sounded. No one who knew this petite woman outside the courtroom could imagine how dominating her presence could be inside India’s highest courtroom. The foremost criminal defence attorney in the highest court of the country, she was the guarantee that no innocent would ever go to prison on her watch. She always took on the difficult cases, the ones that no one would touch. She always represented the ones who could not afford highly respected legal counsel and always argued on merit. She was their hope of justice being served and she never disappointed. She had never told a lie or supported one, and so she was a respected Defence attorney even at the prosecution table.
Today was the day she was going to win yet another case. She was very confident of the outcome of the state of Maharashtra Vs Virat Singh. Virat was innocent and she would walk out of the court room today having proved that and police negligence. Indraini had always been against the brutality meted out to the under trials. “Innocent until proven guilty” was a big farce in annals of the police functioning in the city, so it was up to her to ensure a fair trial.
As Indraini sat at her desk in the court room, waiting for the proceedings to start, she noticed a clerk walk up and leave an envelope at the end of the table. “The reports have arrived”, she thought as she picked up the envelope. She looked up to thank the person leaving it on her desk, and there was no one there. It only took a second, and she wondered where the man went off to. She was pretty sure it was a clerk because she caught a glimpse of his uniform.
Indraini did not have a lot of time to ponder and she opened the envelope and almost immediately wished she hadn’t. Within a moment her entire case, turned upside down. Mr. Virat Sigh had turned out to be a bigger conundrum than what she had originally imagined. “I do not have to produce this in court”, she thought for a moment and immediately regretted thinking that.
Her having argued her case with the evidence submitted, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about Virat’s Innocence. She was not so sure from the beginning. His wife Amaya was the one who approached her and she had been very convincing. It was Amaya’s plea that made her take up the case, and she was sure Amaya was not the liar.
The moment Indraini met Virat she knew there was something off. Though there was mounting and irrefutable evidence of his innocence, she had her doubts. And that is the reason why she had ordered the toxicology panel on the victim. Indraini had argued with her usual determination and had got the case to this point. It was in her hands now. “What should I do?” Indraini wondered. She had two options, ignore what the envelope said and go on as if nothing happened, she had the case anyway and it was the last hearing. But that would mean a criminal would walk free, and she would compromise her principles. Else she could divulge the information, and the investigating authorities would have a new angle to look at. Indraini did not have a lot of time to decide. It was her career, her credibility and probably her licence that was at stake here.
She saw Virat being led into the court room; Indraini had very little time to decide. The judge was ready to hear the case. Silence engulfed the court room, and all eyes were on the proceedings. All the while the prosecutor made his unconvincing closing arguments; Indraini was debating her next move. She had taken an oath to fulfill her duty and today it was to defend the client to the best of her abilities, but she had also worked hard all her life to build her identity in this harsh environment, stood always for justice and law.
She her the judge call out the defence to make the closing arguments and Indraini was still undecided. “Your Honor”, she began.
“As it has been seen with all the arguments made in court and the evidence provided, it has been proved beyond any doubt, that my client is Not Guilty.”
The Public Prosecutor and the Chief investigating officer looked defeated at this point. She looked at Amaya who was happy looking at the victorious smile on Virat’s face. She made her decision.
“The police have also been negligent as well as brutal in their investigation. I plead that you find my client not guilty on all charges.”
The rest of the proceeding went on as planned. The judge ruled the case in her favor and pronounced Virat not guilty on all counts. He also asked the Police to re investigate the matter to find the real culprit. Amaya was elated, and thanked Indraini profusely for delivering on her promise of freeing her husband. Indraini didn’t like to wait long after the judgement was pronounced and walked away with her usual flair.
As the court room emptied out, the Chief Investigating officer of the case found a brown envelope in his hand.