The Supreme Court upholding the conviction of Manu Sharma for the murder of Jessica Lall spells trouble for Bollywood actor Shayan Munshi and 21 other witnesses for deposing falsely in the trial court.
Perjury proceedings initiated against them by the Delhi High Court for retracting their statements to the police, allegedly at the behest of the politically connected Sharma, is set to resume soon.
In the FIR, Munshi had told the police that he saw Sharma fire two bullets, one in the air and the other at Jessica that hit her in the eye, at the Qutub Colonnade in South Delhi. But he changed his version before the court and said he did not understand Hindi and could not decipher the police statement he had signed “in a state of frenzy”.
While convicting Sharma on December 18, 2006, the Delhi High Court had initiated perjury proceedings against the witnesses for which the maximum sentence is seven years.
But the proceedings were deferred after Sharma filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against conviction.
This was after lawyers for the witnesses asked how could they be held guilty of “deliberately deposing falsely” in the trial court if the apex court acquitted Sharma after relying on their statements.
Justice RS Sodhi, who convicted Sharma, had then clearly told the witnesses: “If the Supreme Court sets him free, you go free, if he is convicted, you will be in trouble.” “Perjury proceedings will now resume and we will take a stand before the High Court,” Munshi’s lawyer Aman Lekhi told HT.
Those summoned by the HC included SD Yadav, an electrician at Tamarind Court, ballistic expert PS Minocha and Shakar Mukhia, an employee at Manu Sharma’s farmhouse in Sambhalkha, Haryana.
The Delhi police wants Shyan Munshi punished not just for lying before the trial court but also “lying for a second time” before the High Court.
This was after he filed an affidavit in the High Court where he claimed that what he had stated in the trial court was true and the police had changed his statements to suit their case. The Investigating Officer of the case told the High Court that Munshi’s statement was recorded correctly and it was clear they retracted in the trial court.
“Now we will prove that these witnesses first lied in the trial court by deviating from the statement given to the police and if that was not enough, now they are lying in the High Court by affirming that what they stated in the trial court is the truth,” police sources said.