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Trial of Jessica case turncoats starts today

The Delhi HC will, today, commence proceedings against 32 witnesses who turned hostile in the Jessica Lall murder case, reports Harish V Nair.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 04:40 IST

The Delhi High Court will, on Thursday, commence proceedings against 32 witnesses who turned hostile in the Jessica Lall murder case.

A Division Bench of Justices R.S. Sodhi and P.K. Bhasin had turned the focus on them after sentencing main accused Manu Sharma to life imprisonment and two others — Amardeep Singh Gill and Vikas Yadav — to four years in prison on December 20, 2006.

The Bench convicted them by overturning their acquittals by a lower court. Those who have been summoned by the court include two eye-witnesses — model turned actor Shyan Munshi and Shiv Dass, an electrician at Tamarind Court in Mehrauli where Jessica was shot dead on April 30, 1999, by Manu for refusing to serve him liquor.

In the list are also Andaleeb Sehgal, a businessman already facing probe in the oil-for-food scam and ballistic expert P.S. Minocha, who gave a report favouring the accused.

All the witnesses are to explain why action cannot be taken against them under Section 340 (perjury) of the Criminal Procedure Code for interfering with the administration of justice. If the witnesses are found guilty of giving false evidence, they face imprisonment of up to seven years.

They face the same fate met by Zahira Sheikh, sent to jail in March 2006 by the Supreme Court, for lying under oath in the Best Bakery case.

"Witnesses turning hostile appears to be the order of the day. The courts must put an end to this kind of attitude," the Bench had said.

Email Harish V Nair: harish .nair@hindustantimes.com