Two days before Bharti Yadav’s crucial deposition in the Nitish Katara murder trial, the victim’s brother, Nitin Katara took the stand on Monday to tell the sessions court that his slain brother and Bharti had been in love and were ready to marry each other.
"Bharti Yadav and Nitish were deeply in love and they had full intentions to get married," Nitin, one of the last prosecution witnesses to be examined, told the court. Nitin said he had met Nitish in December 2001, three months before he was killed. Nitish had then told his brother about his relationship with Bharti.
In his statement to the police after the incident, however, Nitin had not said much about the relationship — a point on which the defence counsels grilled him. Nitin’s explanation was that he had assumed that his brother was missing and not dead. In that light, he decided not to disclose the intimate details of the couple’s relationship as he considered Bharti his sister-in-law and was worried that his statement would tarnish her or her family’s image.
Nitin also told the court that Bharti and he were in contact through e-mails and phone in the days after Nitish went missing. Bharti, he said, had hinted about her brother’s malafide intentions in the mails. Nitin, in Mumbai at the time of the incident, said he received a call from Bharti on February 17, a day after Nitish went missing. "Bharti told me that she had seen her brothers taking Nitish out of the venue and she was scared of some mishap. She asked me to speak to her father DP Yadav to inquire about Nitish's whereabouts."
Nitin said the two remained in touch till February 19. Thereafter they decided to use e-mails to stay in contact as Bharti thought telephonic conversations “were not safe”.
Nitin also told the court that in December 2000, when he had come to the capital from Pune, he saw an "Espirit" watch on Nitish's wrist. "Nitish he told me that it was Bharti’s gift. He also said that they were in love." The watch had played a crucial role in identifying Nitish’s body.
Nitish’s mother, Neelam Katara, another prosecution witness, also told the court that Nitish and Bharti were in love. Neelam, however, said she was against the relationship. After a Nitish’s friend informed her about his going missing from the party, Neelam said she called Bharti. “She too sounded worried for him and asked me to contact her father, DP Yadav."
When Neelam called Yadav, "he said he had heard about the incident and will try to help her but added that he was busy with elections". Neelan then lodged a missing complaint at the Kavi Nagar police station in Ghaziabad.
According to Neelam, Bharti told her that, "instead of searching for Nitish in Delhi and UP, she should look in Punjab, where her brother Vikas has a factory." On February 21, an unidentified body was found in Khurja. A DNA test confirmed the body was Nitish’s.
According to the prosecution, Neelam submitted around 83 photographs, letters and gifts that Bharti gifted Nitish during their relationship.
Bharti meets lawyer
Bharti, met her counsel SC Buttan in his Shalimar Bagh office in Northwest Delhi on Monday morning. Bharti, Buttan said, had come to him to understand the legal proceedings before her deposition in court. “I have asked her to remain calm and not lose her temper as both the parties involved in the case are close to her’, said Buttan.
Yadav, who reportedly landed in India on Friday morning, has to depose in court on Wednesday morning. Buttan refused to disclose Bharti’s whereabouts and said she was staying with a friend.