Bina Ramani, a key witness in the Jessica Lall murder case, on Monday described the conviction of Manu Sharma as the culmination of a seven-year-long struggle for justice and said it felt “unbelievable”.
She also sought a witness protection programme in the country.
|"She (Jessica) was breathing hard for life and I was watching her slip away, I could not see her so helpless. She was in the backseat of my car. There were two waiters holding her. She was fighting for her life." --Bina Ramani recalling the dying moments of Jessica Lall|
The night of April 28, 1999 when Jessica was shot dead remains afresh in Ramani’s mind, she says. “I have thought about it at least million times in these seven and half years. Jessica was such a happy-go-lucky girl. I still recall those last moments when I could hear her breathe heavily while I kept praying to God to save her,” added Ramani.
Almost breaking into tears, the socialite in whose restaurant Tamarind Court the crime occurred at Mehrauli in Delhi, recalled the last moments of Lall as she was being taken to the hospital after being shot by Sharma.
“She was in the backseat of my car. There were two waiters holding her. She was breathing so loud, fighting for her life,” she said in a choking voice.
“She was breathing hard for life and I was watching her slip away, I could not see her so helpless.”
Ramani who is also being tried for trying to destroy evidence in the case, refuted the charge.
“Why would I do that? Why would I wipe the bloodstains after Jessica was shot? All I was thinking then was to get her to the nearest hospital,” Ramani maintained.
Ramani also stressed the need to put in place a witness protection programme, recalling the tremendous pressure she underwent as did the other witnesses in the case.
“There should be strong protection for witnesses and I will be on the forefront to create some kind of platform,” Ramani said at her Goa residence minutes after the Delhi High Court pronounced the verdict.
The Ramani family also claimed they had suffered huge financial losses in the past seven years.
“Although no loss was as big as Jessica’s life, we suffered enormous financial losses. From being a successful business family we became bankrupt. We became easy prey for the civic bodies and various agencies like the income tax department, excise department, DDA”, Ramani added.
Terming the last seven-and-a-half years a struggle for justice, Ramani said, “Finally, a whole new life is to begin.”
With PTI inputs from Panaji