Govt hints at fresh probe
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Govt hints at fresh probe

The Home Minister assured MPs that everything possible under the law would be done to ensure justice.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 18:27 IST

The government has indicated that there could be a reinvestigation into the Jessica Lall case, but has ruled out a retrial.

"As per the law, no person should be tried twice in any case," Home Minister Shivraj Patil said in a statement in the Rajya Sabha after MPs in both Houses demanded reopening of the case.

All the accused in the case relating to the murder in 1999 were acquitted last week for lack of evidence after witnesses turned hostile. The main accused, Manu Sharma, is the son of Haryana Excise Minister Vinod Sharma.

"We should go to the very root and find out who is really responsible in the case," Patil said after Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Brinda Karat demanded a reinvestigation into the case.

"The Supreme Court has ordered reinvestigation in some cases and it has become some kind of a law for us as well. It can be followed," Patil said.

He assured the members that "everything possible under the law will be done to see that justice is given. Let there be no doubt."

The Delhi High Court has already sought a detailed report on the case from Police Commissioner KK Paul.

The Home Minister said that the government was keen to incorporate provisions to protect witnesses in such cases to prevent them from turning hostile under pressure.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta lamented that Lal had been "killed in front of so many people" but her killers had been acquitted.

He noted that Paul, who was a joint commissioner at the time of the murder, had said that evidence in the case had been tampered with at the direction of police officials.

"All the accused have money power and that is why investigations have been deliberately derailed," Dasgupta said.

Several MPs joined Dasgupta in demanding that the government should file an appeal in the case.

According to the prosecution, Sharma shot Jessica dead on April 29, 1999, because she refused to serve him a drink at a south Delhi bar functioning without a licence.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 21:45 IST