After evading court proceedings for over three years, Bharti Yadav, the prime witness in the Nitish Katara murder case and sister of prime accused Vikas Yadav, finally deposed before a sessions court in the Capital on Wednesday.
Sources at the court said that Bharti, covering her face with a shawl, arrived at the premises as early as 7.30 a.m., a couple of hours before her deposition began, to avoid mediapersons. She was accompanied in the court by her father, former Rajya Sabha member DP Yadav.
Even though the proceedings were in camera, Bharti could not escape media attention entirely. As soon as she left the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur, some television channels reported that she had turned a hostile witness. Quoting sources, they said Bharti had denied that she had an affair with Nitish; she said they were just friends. The channels said that when confronted with photographs of herself with Nitish, she said “photos do not prove romance”. If so, it contradicts the statement she gave to the police in March 2002 after Nitish was killed.
But sources in the prosecution said the testimony had not reached the stage where a witness is declared hostile. The Kataras — Nitish’s mother Neelam and his brother Nitin — were unwilling to speak about the court proceedings. “I have strict instructions from the court not to disclose anything,” said Neelam. Bharti’s counsel SC Buttan said: "I cannot speak because it is an in-camera trial."
Prosecution sources said of the 120 documents to be examined by the court, only 20 had so far been taken up. They include letters purportedly sent to Nitish by Bharti, and emails she sent to Nitin, after Nitish went missing on February 16, 2002.