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What really happened at Patiala House? Kanhaiya's lawyers call (obvious) BS on thug-vocates' 3-hour-beating boast

Macho lawyers
Macho lawyers

Three defence lawyers of Kanhaiya Kumar spoken to by Legally Indiasaid it was nearly impossible that lawyers beat Kumar for three hours, as they had boasted in a sting recording by India Today.

Advocates Yashpal Singh and Vikram Singh Chauhan were recorded in an India Today sting operation as boasting of beating up Kumar and having pre-meditated the attacks, with advocate Prashant Bhushan yesterday requesting the Supreme Court to start suo motu contempt proceedings against the lawyers.

Chauhan, in particular, had said that on 15 February:

We beat up that boy [Kanhaiya] for 3 hours... 3 hours...

We forced him to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’... Yes, he said ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’ We made him say it. We bashed him for three hours. He wet his pants. We beat him up so much.

One of Kumar’s lawyers, Rebecca John, commented: “He was definitely beaten on the 17th [February] within the Patiala House premises and within the court room, and a medical examination took place.”

But what the lawyers were claiming in the sting video was “just this macho bravado”, she added.

“Part of it is nonsense,” agreed advocate Vrinda Grover, who is also representing Kumar, about their claims. “They didn’t beat him up for three hours.”

Advocate Sushil Bajaj, who’s also representing Kumar, noted that their claims were “very highly exaggerated”, having spoken to Kumar on 17 February.

“They are saying they beat him for three hours - I don’t know where the occasion for that would have been,” said Bajaj. “The only time where they could conceivably have come into contact with him, was when he was entering the court room.”

“On the 17th he was produced in court, and thereafter he was immediately transferred to judicial custody and there he’s been kept in isolation [though not in solitary confinement],” explained Bajaj. “I don’t know where these people would have had access to him in judicial custody [in Tihar jail] and people are going to meet him [there] on a fairly regular basis.”

Bajaj said he “would find that completely incredible” if lawyers were able to beat him for three hours inside Tihar jail. “I don’t believe that for a minute,” he added, joking: “If that’s what actually happened, then a very large number of people have a lot to answer for.”

Bajaj said that Kumar had never indicated to him in his conversation on the 17th that he had been beaten any time other than when he entered the court premises and again when he was on the court premises.

“The person who attacked him inside the court premises is not one of the people on whom the sting operation has been conducted,” added Bajaj about his understanding of the situation.

That said, despite the rumour mill in overdrive for the past week about what happened, those assaults on Kumar in and outside the court were serious.

“He indicated that he had been very badly beaten, he had been pushed around, had been hit,” said Bajaj. “When I first saw him, his nose was bleeding and his hand was bleeding, how deep that injury was, I was not in a position to say.

“And he wasn’t wearing his slippers, because his slippers got lost in the melee.”

It was suspected in court that Kumar might have also suffered internal injuries, so the court ordered an X-ray examination be carried out, the results of which his lawyers had not yet seen, according to Bajaj.

He added that in their 17 February conversation Kumar had not indicated that he had been treated badly or beaten by police.

Advocate Yashpal Singh, one of the lawyers who allegedly assaulted journalists, JNU students and laweyrs, was arrested yesterday, and released on bail a few hours later.

Vikram Singh Chauhan has not yet surrendered to the police.

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