In another turn of events in the murder case of 24-year-old Hoshiarpur woman Jyoti in Panchkula, the victim's father, Butti Ram, and his lawyer appeared before commissioner of police, Ambala-Panchkula, Rajbir Deswal on Friday and filed a complaint against Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary, his wife Nidhi, Ludhiana resident Rajinder Kumar, Dasuya resident Laddu Ram and his wife and an unidentified person for threatening him to turn hostile in the court.
Subsequently, he had turned hostile on December 23. He is the complainant in the case and had told the court that he did not know the Doon MLA, who is the prime accused in the case, and also did not recognise the picture of his second daughter's wedding where he was present.
Jyoti was found dead with her head smashed on the roadside in Sector 21 of Panchkula on November 22, 2012.
In his complaint on Friday, he claimed that right after the registration of murder case against Chaudhary, the MLA misused his money and muscle power to threaten him, about which he had filed complaints to the Haryana DGP and other police officers.
'Gunman of union minister threatened me'
Butti Ram of Bhunga village of Hoshiarpur claimed that on December 10, 2012, Darshana of the same village called him at her house where a person, who identified himself as a Chandigarh Police cop and gunman of union minister Santosh Chaudhary, threatened that he would not allow witnesses to depose before the court. That gunman told Butti Ram that Chaudhary had links with big leaders of the Congress.
On December 18, 2012, brother-in-laws of Butti Ram, Lakhwinder Singh and Bhoola Ram, came to meet him and told him that they were under pressure from Chaudhary's men. They took him to Dasuya where they met the Nathupur's sarpanch at his furniture showroom where he was allegedly "badly" threatened.
After this, Rajinder and Laddu Ram allegedly threatened him saying that he could not harm Chaudhary as he had even bought the police.
He also named a commissioning agent of Hoshiarpur, Bittu, for threats.
On December 1, 2013, Laddu Ram and his wife came and took Butti Ram to a tea stall at Hoshiarpur bus stand. He had recorded this conversation and submitted it with the complaint.
On December 6, 2013, he could not appear before the court owing to bad health. But Rajinder and Laddu Ram came to his house and allegedly threatened him against giving statement in the court. On December 12, 2013, he filed a complaint at Bhunga police post against Laddu Ram.
MLA's wife approached him
On December 22, 2013, Butti, along with his daughter Ishu, Hira and driver Ranjit, had come to Chandigarh as they were to depose before the court against Chaudhary. But he got a call from Lakhwinder that his wife's health had deteriorated. He reached home around 10pm where Lakhwinder was present with an unidentified person, who allegedly threatened him. They brought Butti Ram to Bhunga bus stand where a car was waiting. In the car, Rajinder Kumar, a lawyer from Bhunga, and Chaudhary's wife were present. The unidentified person then allegedly slapped him 3-4 times. He told the police that he was threatened for over half an hour and was told that he and his family could be murdered.
The next day, Butti Ram started around 4 am from his house towards Panchkula in a car, comprising Lakhwinder, driver Ranjeet and an unidentified lawyer from Bhunga. They were stopped near SAS Nagar by four people. Butti Ram claimed that they threatened him and was told that they were armed with weapons. He was then taken to the house of Chaudhary's lawyer.
"I was taken to Chaudhary's lawyer home in Chandigarh where a number of people were present. I was taught what statement I had to give," Butti Ram alleged. He added that around 10.30am when he reached the court, people from the opposite party ghearoed him and he had to give statement as per their wishes.
After that he remained in hiding for three days as he was ashamed over his conduct. He prayed for security for him and family.
While taking to mediapersons, Butti Ram said Chaudhary's wife requested him to turn hostile as her husband had already suffered much.
"We will take legal opinion about the complaint. If need arises, the case will be transferred to the Punjab Police. They (Butti Ram and his lawyer Jitender Sehrawat) agreed to it. For time being we are providing them security. They are approaching the high court for security," Deswal said.
"The case have been registered under sections 195A (threatening any person to give false evidence), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code," Panchkula deputy commissioner of police Ashwin Shenvi said.
"It is a bundle of lies. We totally deny the allegations. He had turned hostile on his own," said Amandeep Bindra, counsel for Chaudhary.
"Butti Ram along with the prosecution will move an application under section 311 of the CrPC before the trial court for recording the statement again, as the earlier statement was made under pressure from Chaudhary," said NS Shekhawat, counsel for Butti Ram.