HC tells cops to explain shoddy probe
The court issued the notice on the basis of newspaper reports that prosecution had failed to gather proper evidence.india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 18:27 IST
Delhi High Court on Friday sought an explanation from Delhi Police on the shoddy manner in which it had investigated the 1999 murder of model Jessica Lal, leading to all nine accused in the case being acquitted.
Judges Vijender Jain and Rekha Sharma asked the police to respond by April 19.
The court issued the notice on the basis of newspaper reports that the prosecution had failed to gather proper evidence.
Nine people, including prime accused Manu Sharma, the son of a Haryana minister, were acquitted on Tuesday, with Additional Sessions Judge SL Bhayana saying there was no evidence against them and that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.
Manu Sharma is the son of Haryana Excise Minister Vinod Sharma. Another accused, Yograj Singh, is the father of Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh.
According to the prosecution, Manu Sharma shot dead Lal on April 29, 1999 after she refused to serve him a drink in a bar functioning without a licence. Lal was filling in as a bartender at the Tamarind Court bar, near the Qutb Minar, run by socialite Bina Ramani. It was later shut down.
Of the 12 accused in the case, one was discharged and two are absconding.
The nine accused who were acquitted are Manu Sharma, his uncle Shyam Sunder Sharma, Amardeep Singh Gill, Yograj Singh, Harvinder Chopra, Vikas Gill, Raja Chopra, Alok Khanna and Vikas Yadav, the son of former Uttar Pradesh MP DP Yadav.
Vikas Yadav is also accused of murdering a business executive, Nitish Katara, because he objected to his involvement with his sister Bharati.
Vikas Yadav, Alok Khanna and Amardeep Singh Gill were charged with destroying evidence and conspiracy.
Shyam Sunder Sharma was charged with harbouring an offender and destroying evidence, and Yograj Singh, Amardeep Singh Gill, Harvinder Chopra and Raja Chopra were also charged with harbouring an offender.
The accused were acquitted on four grounds. First, the prosecution failed to recover the weapon that was used to kill Lal.
The court said the prosecution also failed to prove that the two cartridges recovered from the spot were fired from one weapon. A forensic report had said the two cartridges were fired from two different weapons.
Third, the three eyewitnesses in the case, including model Shayan Munshi, refused to support the prosecution's line and turned hostile.
Fourth, the prosecution failed to present a complete chain of circumstances of the case, the court said.