A typographical error in a verdict delivered by the Delhi High Court has allegedly led to a double-murder convict being released.
The convict, as of Sunday, was reported to be absconding for more than three months, posing a threat to eye-witness in the case against him.
The goof up happened in a verdict passed by a bench of Justice GS Sistani and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal on December 24 last year, in which Jitender alias Kalla, who was serving life imprisonment, was let off as he had already served 16 years in jail.
Jitender was convicted for shooting and killing Anil Bhadana, the then president of Satyawati College Students’ Union, on March 10, 1999. The next day, he shot dead the father of a man who was an eye witness in Bhadana’s murder case.
On December 24, a high court bench set Kalla free for having spent 16 years in prison.
Later, on March 22, it retracted its verdict admitting that, “A typographical error was noticed post delivery of the judgment dated December 24, 2016 in the concluding portion”.
The bench rectified the error and deleted the two extraneous sentences “… to the period already undergone by the appellant i.e. 16 years and 10 months” and “The appellant be released forthwith, if not required in any other case…”
The bench has also directed the city police commissioner to take steps to arrest Jitender alias Kalla and take him into custody at the earliest. It has also directed the police to provide protection to all three complainants and the eye-witness in the case.
“We further direct the commissioner of police to take steps to take the appellant Jitender alias Kalla into custody at the earliest,” the bench said.
On March 10, 1999, Jitender had stormed into a reception of a wedding in north Delhi and had shot dead Anil Bhadana, the then president of Satyawati College Students’ Union.
According to police, Jitender had killed Bhadana because he was about to depose against him in a criminal case.
The next day, he went to house of Sumit Nayyar, an eye witness, who had informed police about Bhadana’s murder. On not finding Sumit, he shot Sumit’s father KL Nayyar thrice in the chest, killing him on the spot.
In 2013, a trial court had convicted Jitender to 30 years rigorous imprisonment in the first case and life imprisonment in the second case.
Jitender appealed against the trial court verdict before the high court. Following which he was erroneously released in December.
The brother of the deceased in the first case and son of the deceased in the second case had later even written to Chief Justice G Rohini that Jitender has not been arrested and sent back to jail.