How Rocky Yadav & Co Played the Court in Gaya Road Rage Trial
Let’s retrace the numerous twists and turns in the 16-month trial for the Aditya Sachdeva murder case.
(This story was first published on 31 August 2017 when Rocky Yadav was convicted by a Gaya district court in the Aditya Sachdeva murder case. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives in light of the court verdict, sentencing Yadav and two others to life imprisonment.)
A sessions court in Gaya on Wednesday sentenced Rocky Yadav and two of his friends to life imprisonment in the Aditya Sachdeva murder case, while his father, Bindi Yadav, has been awarded a five-year jail term.
The Gaya district court had on 31 August, convicted Rocky, son of suspended JD(U) MLC Manorama Devi, and three others for Sachdeva’s murder.
Sachdeva, the son of a Gaya-based businessman, was only 19 years old when he was shot at point blank range by Yadav after his car overtook the latter’s luxury SUV on 7 May 2016.
Yadav had fled from the spot after committing the crime and took shelter at his father's factory in Bodh Gaya, from where he was arrested 48 hours later.
The 16-month ordeal faced by Sachdeva’s family was by no measure an easy one. The high-profile case faced several obstructions and attempts by Yadav’s family to derail it in the trial stages.
Patna HC Grants Rocky Bail
One of the most significant twists in the case was Yadav being granted bail by the Patna High Court Chief Justice, Iqbal Ahmad Ansari.
Sachdeva’s parents cried foul at this development, alleging that Yadav’s family had used its influence to get their son out on bail. Two weeks later, the Supreme Court stayed the bail granted by the Patna High Court, saying Yadav will have to stay in jail till the end of the trial.
Key Witnesses Turn Hostile
An even bigger blow to the prosecution was when four friends of Aditya’s, who were with him the night he was murdered and were key eyewitnesses, turned hostile.
Ayush Agarwal, Ankit, Kaifi and Naseer had earlier recorded a statement in front of the magistrate, claiming Yadav had shot their friend dead. In the court, however, they claimed it was too dark to tell if Yadav had fired the bullet, and that their initial statement was recorded under police pressure.
We did not even know that Aditya had been gunned down. The four boys accompanying Aditya in the car only informed us. The case was lodged on the basis of their statements... It is a matter to ponder whether the boys are under some pressure or threat. Anyway, changing the statement is making a mockery of the judiciary. It is also a blot on friendship.Aditya’s father told The Telegraph
Soon after, a fifth witness in the case, police constable Sunil Kumar, turned hostile too. He had earlier said he had seen Yadav’s father, Bindi Yadav, facilitating his escape.
Public Prosecutor Changed Mid-Way Through Trial
Besides key witnesses turning hostile, the Bihar government changed its public prosecutor mid-way through the trial.
Amid speculation that the prosecutor had been changed to derail the trial, the District Magistrate at the time assured that the move was incidental. He argued that SDN Singh (the original prosecutor) had already completed his three-year tenure, and that his transfer was long overdue.
In July 2017, the trial was transferred from the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) SP Mishra to the court of ADJ Sachchidanand Singh. The transfer happened reportedly because Mishra was keeping unwell and couldn’t hear the case on a daily basis. The Supreme Court had also set a deadline of 5 September 2017 to wrap up the trial.
Rocky and 3 Others Convicted
Yadav has been convicted along with three others, including his father, Bindi Yadav, cousin Teni Yadav and his mother's security guard, Rajesh Kumar.
While Yadav was found guilty of IPC sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 427 (mischief causing damage) and section 27 of the Arms Act, Bindi Yadav has been held guilty under sections 212 (harbouring the offender) and 177 (furnishing false information).
Despite every effort made by the defence to let Yadav off the hook, the prosecution persisted with its case. Other than key testimonies by eyewitnesses, there was enough circumstantial evidence to implicate Yadav, such as the forensic science laboratory (FSL) report and Rocky’s own pistol being identified as the murder weapon.
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