Heat is on: Arrest warrants issued | india | Hindustan Times
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Heat is on: Arrest warrants issued

EXACTLY A month after a trial court acquitted them for want of evidence, all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case are back in the spotlight. On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court admitted the appeal filed by the police seeking their conviction and issued bailable warrants against all of them. The division bench of justices Manmohan Sarin and Manju Goel also ordered all the nine to present themselves before the court on April 18.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 01:40 IST

HCADMITS APPEAL, THE NINE ACCUSED BACK IN THE DOCK

EXACTLY A month after a trial court acquitted them for want of evidence, all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case are back in the spotlight. On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court admitted the appeal filed by the police seeking their conviction and issued bailable warrants against all of them.

The division bench of justices Manmohan Sarin and Manju Goel also ordered all the nine to present themselves before the court on April 18.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and state counsel Mukta Gupta had earlier sought non-bailable warrants against those acquitted in the case on the ground that one of the accused -- Ravinder Sudan (alias Titu) -- had escaped to the US and was a proclaimed offender.

The court directed Manu Sharma to furnish a bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the same amount. The others will have to submit bonds of Rs 50,000.

Restraining the accused from going abroad till further orders, the court told the police that they were at liberty to take steps to revoke the passport of the nine people.

Legal experts say since the appeal has been admitted, the police can make a case for a retrial or reinvestigation.

"They can make a case citing what went wrong during the trial or the investigation into the case," said senior advocate Prashant Bhushan. "Even if the police desist from doing so, the court itself can order a retrial or a reinvestigation into the case."

In their appeal, the police had cited 92 reasons on the basis of which the trial court's order could be struck down.

They said the trial judge'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 in the order… the judgment is manifestly wrong, bad in law and contrary to the facts and evidence on record and based on conjectures and surmises," the police said.

R.K. Naseem, who defended Manu Sharma in the trial, said, "There're great infirmities in the evidence that was produced before the trial court and that evidence is absolutely insufficient to link the accused to the incident."