'Everyone saw Manu kill Jessica?
The Jessica Lall murder case was definitely not the toughest of probes, feels the man who headed the case ? then joint commissioner (southern range) Amod Kanth.india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 18:28 IST
The Jessica Lall murder case was definitely not the toughest of probes, feels the man who headed the case — then joint commissioner (southern range) Amod Kanth.
Kanth, now DGP Arunachal Pradesh, said it was a "simple open and shut case". However, he said the case fell through because of something the police had no control over — witnesses turning hostile. Kanth also feels that crucial evidence — the two spent cartridges - appeared to have been tampered with.
"The assailants, Manu Sharma and Vikas Yadav, came to the party, interacted with other guests, and shot dead Jessica. Everybody saw it. When they were refused a drink, Manu took out his pistol and fired two shots, one hitting the ceiling and the other hit her head," Kanth told HT from Arunachal Pradesh.
Manu and Vikas, he said, were no strangers. "They were very well-known people. Every Thursday, Bina Ramani had a party at her restaurant and the two were regulars. There was nothing much to establish in the Jessica Lall case," he said.
Kanth said there were a number of eyewitnesses and the only task that the police had at hand was to contact these people. "We had examined almost everybody present that day, including policemen whose names came up. Several people had seen Manu Sharma shooting dead Jessica Lall."
As far as wiping the bloodstains was concerned, Kanth said, that was not important for investigators. "The most important evidence were the cartridges that had been sealed and sent to the police station and from there to the CFSL, where they were opened by experts and the discrepancy noticed," he said.
"Obviously there was manipulation of the empty cartridges. They were either changed or tampered with. There is no doubt about it. Witnesses, which included the top people of our society turned hostile, which is a sad reflection on civil society."
The case, Kanth said, should decidedly go for a re-trial despite inadequacies if it has the evidence to stand trial in court. "A fresh case with regard to the weapon should be registered and investigated by the CBI as the role of the CFSL lab too has to be investigated," he said.