Bharti Yadav, key prosecution witness in the Nitish Katara murder case, finally arrived in India on Friday evening. Although her counsel, SC Buttan, confirmed that Bharti was in India, her father, former Rajya Sabha MP DP Yadav, said she will reach India either on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
Bharti’s whereabouts, however, are still a mystery. Speculation is rife that she is putting up at a farmhouse in Chattarpur locality of South Delhi, but Delhi Police have refused to either confirm or deny it.
Bharti’s counsel Buttan said in all likelihood, she will meet him at his office in Shalimar Bagh on Sunday.
“She has not spoken to me so far. A few common friends have confirmed the news of her arrival. In case our schedules allow, we will meet tomorrow (Sunday) in my office,” he said.
Bharti Yadav, who is studying in the UK, had been evading court proceedings for over three years. She reportedly landed at the Mumbai airport on Friday. Bharti will depose in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur on November 29, in an in-camera proceeding.
For Nitish’s mother, Neelam Katara, Bharti’s arrival comes as a big relief. “I have been struggling for this for over three years now. The case proceedings had come to a halt. I am glad that now we will soon move towards the conclusion,” said Katara.
Bharti Yadav is one of the last prosecution witnesses to be examined in the case. Bharti, sister of key accused Vikas Yadav, had left for London soon after Nitish’s murder in 2002. Police say Katara was kidnapped from a marriage party on February 17, 2002, by Vikas and and her cousin Vishal Yadav and murdered as they did not approve of Bharti’s relationship with him.
How Bharti was brought back To India
Bharti, who had been evading court proceedings for over three years, was forced to return to India as her UK visa was scheduled to expire on November 30.
Moreover, the trial court’s order of initiating the proceedings of declaring Bharti a proclaimed offender, also helped in her return as that would have landed her brother Yadav in big trouble.
Legal experts say had Bharti’s status been changed from that of a witness — she was allegedly one of the last persons to have seen Katara leave with her brother Vikas and cousin Vishal Yadav — to an offender, the prosecution could have approached the Interpol to get a red corner notice issued against her. Such a notice can only be issued against someone who has committed an offence for which the imprisonment is for over a year.
As per the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) amendments that were effected early this year, Bharti, if convicted, could have been sentenced to jail for three years under section 174-A (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
“I am sure Bharti is going to depose in a truthful manner in the interest of justice and her friend Nitish,” said Neelam Katara, mother of the deceased.
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