The murder trial in the sensational Nitish Katara murder case cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 6 crore from the stage of investigation to sentencing, says a first-of-its-kind report authored by the Delhi state legal services authority.
The trial in the case with three accused was conducted in 18 hearings. The DSLSA report by member Surendra Rathi was commissioned by the Delhi high court in order to assess the compensation due to the victim’s family.
It took Rs. 5.85 crore — from investigation to transportation of the accused from jail to court — to bring the three accused to justice in the murder trial and appeal that lasted 12 years, it says.
Nitish Katara, a 25-year-old business executive in Delhi, was murdered on February 17, 2002, by Vikas Yadav, the son of influential politician DP Yadav. Nitish was allegedly in a relationship with Vikas’s sister Bharti Yadav.
The trial court held that Nitish’s murder was an honour killing because the family did not approve of their relationship.
Rathi calculated the cost of the Katara murder trial by taking into account various heads of expenditure such as ‘investigation’, ‘police protection provided to witnesses’, ‘jail lodging of accused’, etc.
In the 12-year trial of Vishal, Vikas and Sukhdev Yadav, Rs. 46.71 lakh was spent to employ a special public prosecutor in the trial and high courts.
The report said two proceedings in the lower court— Sukhdev Yadav had a separate trial —that took place over 377 hearings cost Rs. 21 lakh.
The proceedings in the delhi high court cost an average of Rs. 5 lakh per month and lasted 5.35 months, said the report. Lodging the undertrials from 2003-2014 and transporting them to and from the court cost Rs. 76 lakh.
The high expenditure could be attributed to wastage and replicated work due to “mindless and unscientific planning in all the wings of the criminal justice system,” the report goes on to say. The organs of the justice system are “highly chaotic in their functioning and are immensely overburdened,” it adds.