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Bharti’s testimony was crucial

As the court convicts Vikas and Vishal Yadav for the murder of Nitish Katara, the role of Bharti Yadav, the girl Nitish loved, figured prominently in the verdict, reports Naziya Alvi.
Hindustan Times | By Naziya Alvi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2008 12:47 AM IST

As the court convicted Vikas and Vishal Yadav for the murder of Nitish Katara, the role of Bharti Yadav, the girl Nitish loved, figured prominently in the 1,100-page verdict.

While at one point the court found Bharti to have done ‘injustice to the soul of Nitish’, it also acknowledged she was under immense pressure from her family to save her brother and cousin Vikas and Vishal.

“Her plight is understandable as on one hand it was her past who was no more alive and on the other hand there were her brothers who were behind bars. She must have been under tremendous pressure from the family to save her brothers by any means,” observed Additional Session Judge Ravinder Kaur.

The court also said Bharti has tried to give a very balanced statement before the court by denying her intimate relationship with Nitish but also admitting to exchanging letters and cards.

The photographs, letters and greetings exchanged between Nitish by Bharti proved their intimacy beyond any doubt. The prosecution had produced 79 such documents that were admitted by Bharti in the court during her deposition.

“These documents are self explanatory that the relationship between the two was not mere friendship but had blossomed into love affair and they intended to marry”, said Kaur.

The court also highlighted the fact that Vikas Yadav stayed away from the court on the two days when Bharti recorded her statement. “This shows he had knowledge of the relationship between the two and had no courage to face her for his misdeed”, the court said.

Bharti’s deposition was important

The prosecution claimed Bharti had initially told a policewoman of her love for Nitish. She had also reportedly written e-mails to Nitin, Nitish’s brother after Nitish was abducted, hinting her brother’s role in it.

Following this, Bharti was made to flee to the UK in May 2003 on the pretext of studying. When she finally came back to depose on November 29, 2006, she turned hostile and said her brothers were caring and loving and could not commit such acts. She also denied any intimate relationship with Nitish but had said, “ I used to like him but there was no proposal for marriage.”

Bharti evaded court for three years

The trial judge pulled up the defence for making deliberate attempts to keep Bharti away from the court for over three years.

“It is on record that the accused persons made all possible efforts to avoid the appearance of Bharti Yadav in the court,” the judge said.

As per the records, Bharti remained elusive from the court proceedings despite a number of bailable and non- bailable warrants against her. In March 2005, the prosecution gave up all hopes and dropped her as a witness. But Neelam Katara, mother of the deceased appealed against it in the high court and got Bharti’s name back in the list.

In May 2006, the Ministry of External Affairs revoked Bharti Yadav’s passport, so her stay in UK was technically illegal. Finally it was an amendment in the Criminal Procedure Code that helped the prosecution bring Bharti to the court. The new amendment allowed the court to initiate proclamation proceedings against an elusive witness who can further be convicted upto three years for that.

What Nailed Yadavs?

Last Seen Evidence Testimony of Ajay Katara and two constables who last saw Nitish with Yadav brothers on Feb 16-17 2002.

Conduct Of The Two Accused The two went missing after the murder until they were arrested on April 23 from MP.

Recovery Of A Hammer and Nitish’s wristwatch on the basis of the disclosure of the two accused.

Statements Of Bharti Yadav. Her statement helped prosecution prove motive after she accepted love letters in the court.

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