In the case of murder of 24-year-old Hoshiarpur girl Jyoti, her father, Butti Ram, on Wednesday stood by his original statement given to the police that established a relationship between Jyoti and the main accused, Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary. Butti Ram had earlier turned hostile on December 23, and then on January 15 he submitted before the court that he had been terrorised by the Himachal Pradesh Congress MLA's aides, and hence prayed for re-recording his statement. On February 1, permission was granted.
On Wednesday, Butti Ram told the court that his other daughter, Ishu, had told him about the relationship between Jyoti and Chaudhary, and that Jyoti wanted to marry Chaudhary. He added that Chaudhary had refused to marry her as she was a Dalit.
Jyoti was found dead, her head smashed, by the side of the road in Sector 21, Panchkula, in November 2012. Butti Ram identified Chaudhary in the court as well as in a picture taken at Ishu's wedding. During cross-examination, when Chaudhary's counsel AS Sukhija asked him about another person present in the picture, Butti Ram replied that he was a relative of Ishu's husband. But Ishu had earlier said the man was Chaudhary's driver. Buttti Ram also could not tell the wedding date of Ishu.
The defence counsel also asked questions about the death of Butti Ram's son, in which case he had gone to the high court for registration of an FIR for murder in 2006 and later the police filed a cancellation report, terming Butti Ram's allegations false.
Another important witness who appeared on Wednesday was Sumeet alias Simmi. Text messages recovered from Jyoti's mobile phone had pointed towards a relationship between her and Simmi.But Simmi replied in the negative when asked about any affair with Jyoti or that he ever wanted to marry her. He told the court that he had met Jyoti at his aunt's wedding at Amritsar and they had been in touch. When the defence counsel told him that his paternal aunt was married to a maternal cousin of Butti Ram, and in that sense Jyoti was his cousin, he did not say anything further. He told the court that Jyoti had told him about "her sir" Ram Kumar Chaudhary "helping" her.