Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life (Trial in Camera, page 1 of 13)

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With Paranjape's plea for a trial in camera began the post-lunch proceedings in the Judge's chambers. He averred that the witness was entailed to have her identity as well as her deposition kept by the court away from the public. After all, he said, on her own, the witness had come forward to help the cause of justice and thus serve the public interest. Besides, he alerted the court about the delicate nature of her testimony and the likely embarrassment the cross-examination could cause her. Having considered Paranjape's pleas on merits and as Mehrotra had no precedents to quote against to poke his nose; Justice Sumitra began the hearing in her chambers. Though the trial commenced soon enough, that seemed an eternity to the accused.

When the stage was set for Paranjape to take the floor, he ordained the witness to remove her burka. While Mehrotra tried to size up the young woman who emerged from the veil, Paranjape tried to map the nuances of Suresh's demeanor.

―Don't you know who she is? Paranjape asked Suresh.

―Objection Ms. Justice, roared Mehrotra from his seat.

―If she's to further the prosecution, the indicted has a right to know who she is and not the other way round.

―Ms. Justice, said Paranjape spiritedly, ―the interests of justice would suffer if the objection is sustained.

―You may proceed, said Justice Sumitra.

―Have you ever met her before? Paranjape asked Suresh menacingly.

Having realized the import of her appearance, Suresh was flabbergasted beyond belief. Besides, he had no brief from Mehrotra either to tackle the ticklish tangle.

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