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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Appeal cites 92 reasons for review

THE DELHI Police on Monday filed an appeal in the Jessica Lall murder case before the Delhi High Court, constructing a chain of incidents based on material evidence and strong circumstantial evidence which, they said, the trial court ignored while acquitting Manu Sharma and eight other accused.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 01:57 IST
HARISH V. Nair
HARISH V. Nair
None
Hindustantimes
         

THE DELHI Police on Monday filed an appeal in the Jessica Lall murder case before the Delhi High Court, constructing a chain of incidents based on material evidence and strong circumstantial evidence which, they said, the trial court ignored while acquitting Manu Sharma and eight other accused.

The appeal said Additional Sessions Judge S.L. Bhayana's order was erroneous as it acquitted the accused without appreciating the evidence in its "proper perspective and in total disregard of the facts".

"Utter non-application of judicial mind is writ large and is evident from the order of the trial court…. The judgment is manifestly wrong, bad in law and contrary to the facts and evidence on record and based on conjectures and surmises," said the 276-page appeal. The appeal laid out 92 grounds on why Bhayana's order should be set aside. The appeal questioned how the judge on February 21 delivered the judgment running to 179 pages within two hours of hearing arguments and seeking a clarification from both sides.

Observing that the court had erroneously believed the two-weapon theory, the police cited a Supreme Court ruling in a case (Jaidev V State of Punjab) which said that since the weapon of offence was not recovered from the accused, too much reliance on CFSL and the ballistic report was wrong.

The CFSL report of Delhi as well as Jaipur gave the findings that two empty cartridges sent for examination were of different make, bore and calibre and could have been fired from two different pistols. Police said the court did not appreciate the fact that the two empty cartridges recovered from the Qutub Colonade's Tamarind café and from inside Manu's car were of .22 bore and it had been proved that the prime accused had purchased such a weapon. Though the judge, going by the version of a gun shop owner, held that Manu had purchased bullets of KF make, the police point out that it was not supported by documentary evidence.

Since he admitted possessing a .22 bore licensed weapon, the onus was on Manu to produce it, the appeal said. Though Manu's failure to produce the gun was a serious circumstantial evidence against him, the court was only concerned with the failure of the police to recover the weapon.

Another circumstantial evidence, which required an explanation from Manu, was his disappearance for a week after the murder though when he knew he was wanted by the police.

The police say the court ignored the evidence provided by a flurry of phone calls made from the house of D.P. Yadav, father of Vikas Yadav, to Piccadilly Agro industries (owned by Manu) after the murder. On the court disbelieving that Manu had gone to Tamarind Court in the Tata Safari solely because of ambivalence among police witnesses on whether the car was recovered from Karnal or Noida, the police said the judge should have gone by the seizure memo which showed it was recovered from Noida.

The police said the presence of Manu and his friends at the scene of crime was proved by witnesses Bina Ramani, Deepak Bhojwani and Malini Ramani. The police felt the court also erred in relying on the statement of Shayan Munshi that he could not speak or read Hindi and hence did not know what was recorded in his statement. The appeal said Shayan Munshi had stated that he had studied Hindi till Class VII.

The appeal said the judge wrongly discarded the testimony of Deepak Bhojwani, who identified the accused,  on the ground that his name was not mentioned in the list of witnesses supplied by George Mailhot.