Ram Kumar Chaudhary, the newly elected Congress MLA from Doon constituency in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, who was on the run after being named as an accused in the Jyoti murder case, surrendered before chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Bhavna Jain here on Tuesday.
Jyoti, a 24-year-old Dalit resident of Bhunga village in Hoshiarpur district, was found dead on a road in Sector 21 here on November 22. According to the post-mortem report, she had died of a head injury and recently had had an abortion.
During the remand proceedings, Chaudhary submitted through his counsel AS Sukhija that he apprehended that the investigating officer could use third-degree torture on him. He added that the interrogation must be done in the presence of his lawyer.
The judge ordered that the counsel could be present for an hour during the interrogation, but he would be allowed only to see it and not hear it.
The CJM denied the request of the counsel for informing him about the places where Chaudhary would be taken for recovering evidence during the period of the police custody.
Additional district attorney SK Bairagi requested for 10-day police custody. In the remand application, it was submitted that according to the statement of the accused, he would be taken to Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata. Bairagi said the police needed to recover cars and mobile phones of Chaudhary and Jyoti, and also to find out who killed Jyoti and how.
The police would also question Chaudhary about the whereabouts of his accomplices.
After hearing the arguments, the CJM granted six-day police custody. Chaudhary will now be produced in the court on January 14.
How police zeroed in on Chaudhary
According to the remand application, a visiting card of Chaudhary, mentioning him as the general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, was recovered from Jyoti's bag. The call details of this mobile number of Chaudhary and the mobile number 99152 59514, which was mentioned on Jyoti's I-card, were obtained. According to the police, on the night of the murder, at about 8.16pm, the tower location of both these numbers was found to be Sector 21, Chandigarh.
The tower location of the personal mobile number 98140 44340 of Chaudhary at about 00.43am on the intervening night of November 21 and 22 was also found to be at sectors 20/21, Panchkula. It has also come to light that the tower locations of the mobile phone number 98164 64060, bought on a fake ID by Chaudhary, and his personal number were changing at the same time on the night of the murder. So the police concluded that the same person was using both the numbers.
The SIM on the fake ID was bought from Ashish Kumar of Babloo Communication, Sai Road, Baddi. Chaudhary used to remain in touch with Jyoti through different mobile numbers.
The victim had a bank account -- 004301535745 -- in the Sector 11, Panchkula, branch of ICICI Bank. It has also come to light that a huge amount of money was transferred in this account from the ICICI Bank at Baddi.
Later, talking to reporters at General Hospital, Sector 6, here, Chaudhary said he was innocent and had been framed in the case as part of a conspiracy. He said he was not on the run and had faith in the judiciary.