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All Jessica Lall murder accused acquitted

All Jessica Lall murder accused acquitted "We tried to put our best foot forward and it seems the best was not enough" ?Sabrina, Jessica's sister

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 18:55 IST

Over six years after ramp model Jessica Lall was shot dead at socialite Bina Ramani's packed Tamarind Court restaurant, a local court on Tuesday acquitted all the nine suspects — including Manu Sharma, son of former Union minister Vinod Sharma — in the case. The court did not find any concrete grounds to convict them.

Jessica was shot in front of over 600 people on the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999.

The court acquitted the suspects on the ground that there was not enough evidence against them, raising serious question marks about the investigations conducted by the Delhi Police.

On Tuesday, additional sessions judge S.L. Bhayana acquitted Manu Sharma (alias Siddharth Vashist) of the murder charge and Vikas Yadav (son of D.P. Yadav, former UP MP), Tony Gill and Alok Khanna (senior officials of a soft-drinks company) of destroying evidence.

Shyam Sunder Sharma (a relative of former president Shankar Dayal Sharma), who was charged under sections 201 and 212, was acquitted of the charges of destruction of evidence and harbouring an accused.

Four others — former cricketer Yograj Singh, Ruby alias Vikas Gill, Harinder Chopra and Raja Chopra — were acquitted of similar charges.

Earlier the court discharged Amit Jhingan besides declaring two others — R.K. Sudan and Dhanraj — proclaimed offenders in the case. Jhingan was arrested for allegedly ordering the cleaning up of bloodstains from the crime scene.

The judge said the suspects were acquitted on three main grounds.

One, the weapon used for committing the crime was yet to be recovered.

Two, three key eyewitnesses — Shayan Munshi, Shiv Das and Karan Rajput — had turned hostile.

Three, while the prosecution said the two bullets which were fired belonged to one weapon, the CFSL report said they were fired from different weapons.

R.K. Naseem, counsel for the defence, told HT that the evidence presented in the case was very weak to link the accused persons with the offence. Scientific evidence was against the prosecution story and investigating agencies were guilty of creating false evidence in the shape of documents and articles, he said.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 18:55 IST