In the Jyoti murder case, the court of additional district and sessions judge Roopam Singh on Saturday recorded the statement of Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), wherein he shifted the blame to his drivers and termed the evidence against him as "manipulative".
Jyoti, a Dalit girl of Bhunga village in Hoshiarpur, was found dead with her head smashed on a road in Sector 21, Panchkula, on November 22, 2012.
As the police case is relying on mobile tower locations, the MLA from Himachal Pradesh told the court that his drivers, Monu and Satpal, used to keep his mobile phone having the SIM (98160-44340) that was bought on his own ID.
As per the police charge-sheet, on the night of murder of Jyoti, two mobile numbers 98160-44340, bought by Chaudhary on his ID, and 981646-4060, bought by him on fake ID, were found changing tower locations simultaneously and their location was also found to be at the crime spot in Sector 21, Panchkula, from where Jyoti's body was found. Chaudhary told the court that on the night of the murder, Satpal had taken his mobile phone (98160-44340) and had come to this side (Panchkula).
Satpal has not been traced by the police yet.
The MLA told the court, "…So far as mobile number 981646-4060 is concerned, I have no knowledge as to who was its owner or who was holding it. I have not used this mobile on any occasion."
Chaudhary had also raised questions over the character of Jyoti. He submitted before the court, "…Jyoti had relations with so many persons and she could be done to death by anyone. This can well be gathered from the fact that PW-8 (prosecution witness) Anil Kumar had provided his SIM card to Jyoti Rani forever and PW-61 Sumit Hans alias Simmi (a friend of Jyoti) is examined to show such character of Jyoti Rani.
Further PW-87 (DSP Virender Sangwan) or any other investigating officer or even PW-41 Butti Ram, father of Jyoti Rani, and PW-54 Ishu Rani (sister of Jyoti) have not been able to disclose the source of Jyoti Rani's earning."
"Not only this, the last calls made by Jyoti Rani or made to her on mobile number 99152-59514, before this mobile is said to have been switched off on November 21, 2012, are not checked to reach the culprit or to remove the doubts of involvement of such person/persons...," he told the court.
In reply to a question, he said, "Neither I had any relation with Jyoti Rani nor did I make any promise to marry her. I got married to Kuldeep Kaur in 1996 and have two children. As such, these allegations of meeting or promising to marry Jyoti Rani are false on the face of it."
On Ishu's statement that Jyoti used to talk to him and had an affair and also developed physical relations with him, Chaudhary replied that she was an introduced witness with an afterthought version by the Special Investigation Team. "Her evidence is quite unnatural, shaky and cannot be relied upon," he said.
Chuadhary also told the court, "The evidence will clearly show that my mobile number 98160-44340 did not remain in my possession as the same was attended by Satpal and Monu from time to time. Even on November 21, 2012, my driver Satpal was away on this side with the said mobile. I was present at my residence, Haripur Sandholi, Baddi, on the intervening night of November 21 and 22, 2012. Since my family is politically well known in the area and my father had remained legislator for several terms and I am also now an elected MLA from Doon constituency, our opponents have misused the situation to involve and harass me because of the ill-will against my family. In case of circumstantial evidence, the prosecution has absolutely failed to complete the chain of circumstances on record to prove the commission of the offences involved."