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Why Jessica case failed from day 1

Delhi Police admits in public that some of its senior officials had committed deliberate lapses, Harish V Nair reports.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 03:44 IST

Delhi Police on Monday for the first time admitted in public that some of its senior officials had committed deliberate lapses to help the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case.

Police, however, assured that errant officials will not be spared. Mukta Gupta, the counsel representing police, made these submissions before the Delhi High Court after submitting a supplementary status report regarding the progress in investigations after a fresh FIR was lodged to probe destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and lapses by the police.

Though the reports were submitted in a sealed cover and its contents not discussed in the court, Gupta told a Bench comprising Justices R.S. Sodhi and P.K. Bhasin, "We have enumerated lapses committed by the police officials and we will take action against them as per law." 

Police had in April submitted a status report, which reaffirmed the belief that there was a conspiracy involving the police, the accused, and forensic lab. A CD in which Manu had allegedly confessed to killing Jessica has also been submitted to the court.

Police fail to meet deadline

Although the bench had on July 31 sternly told the police that the investigations should be finished in two months, Gupta told the court that they could not meet the deadline as a petition seeking permission to adduce further evidence regarding tampering of CFSL report, fabrication of Manu's cartridge bills and deliberate bid to create confusion regarding the seizure of Manu's car was pending before the court.

The case hinges on whether the police succeeds in disproving the 'two-weapon theory'. To do so, they want  to send the .22 bore 'C' mark bullets seized from Tamarind Court, Jessica skull and Manu's Tata Safari for a fresh examination before a board of experts.

While ballistic expert Roop Singh, who gave birth to the theory, said the bullets were fired from two weapons, another expert from Jaipur had said that no definite opinion could be given unless the weapon is recovered.

‘Fresh probe and appeal different’

The bench, however, categorically told the police that the new findings will not have a bearing on the appeal filed against the acquittals which is being heard on a day-to-day basis. In that the court will only rely on the evidence and submissions made before the trial court judge. Reminding that the fresh probe and the appeal were different from each other, the bench refused to peruse the "new evidence" submitted by the police saying it will be "kept in sealed cover in the custody of the Registrar General" till the disposal of the appeal. "Since the appeal against the acquittal is being heard it would be appropriate we take up the matter on the conclusion of the appeal we do not want any distraction in between", the judges said.