In a setback to the prosecution in the case of murder of 24-year-old Hoshiarpur girl Jyoti in Panchkula, the victim's father, Butti Ram, turned hostile in the court on Monday and refused to identify the prime accused, Congress MLA from Doon (HP) Ram Kumar Chaudhary.
Jyoti was found dead - her head smashed -- by the side of the road in Sector 21 of Panchkula on November 22 last year.
Her father, while deposing before sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi, contradicted his earlier statements filed before the court in the supplementary chargesheet. Further, Jyoti's maternal uncle Lakhwinder Singh also deposed before the court and did not identify Chaudhary in the picture.
"Butti Ram did not identify the MLA in the picture of the wedding of his other daughter Ishu, Jyoti's sister. He said he was busy and did not know when the MLA had come. He added that his daughter Jyoti did not know Chaudhary and had never worked for him," defence counsel Amandeep Bindra, representing Chaudhary in the court, said.
According to Bindra, Butti Ram further told the court that upon getting information about his daughter's death, he had reached the Sector-5 police station in Panchkula where he identified her clothes and was later taken to the mortuary where he identified Jyoti's body. "But in the chargesheet, the police had claimed that Butti Ram was taken to the death spot where he identified the body," Bindra said.
But district attorney APS Parmar said, "Butti Ram's statement will not have any bearing on the case. He was not an eyewitness. Our case is based on circumstantial evidence." While Jyoti used to live as a paying guest in Chandigarh, the family lives in Hoshiarpur.
The case was adjourned for January 15.
WHAT HE HAD SAID EARLIER
*Butti Ram, victim Jyoti's father, had earlier alleged that prime accused Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary was offering him `50 lakh to keep quiet and had even threatened him.
*He had also moved the high court for a CBI probe into his daughter's death, and had alleged that Panchkula police were shielding MLA Chaudhary.