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Jessica accused back in the dock

Seven of the accused, including Manu Sharma appeared before the HC, which is hearing a fresh appeal.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 16:05 IST

About two months after they walked free in the Jessica Lall murder case, seven of the accused, including Manu Sharma, on Tuesday appeared before the Delhi High Court, which is hearing a fresh appeal filed by the Delhi Police.

The division bench of justices Manmohan Sarin and J.M. Malik granted bail to all seven and issued a non-bailable warrant against Vikas Gill — who had allegedly driven Manu Sharma to Chandigarh after the murder.

The Delhi Police’s counsel, Mukta Gupta, told the bench that a warrant could not be served on Gill as he was absconding. A resident of Jagraon near Ludhiana, Gill is believed to have escaped to the US.

Manu Sharma has been asked to furnish a bond of Rs 1 lakh while the other accused — Amardeep Singh Gill, Alok Khanna, Harvinder Chopra, Raja Chopra, S.S. Sharma and Yograj Singh — will have to submit bonds of Rs 50,000 each.

Another accused, Vikas Yadav, was not produced in the court as he is in judicial custody in connection with the Nitish Katara murder case.

Agreeing to Gupta’s request that some restrictions will have to be imposed on the accused, lest they abscond, like Vikas Gill, the court said they would have to take its permission before leaving the country. If they violate bail conditions, the court can order their arrest.

Manu Sharma and the rest of the accused have retained the lawyers who appeared for them in the trial court.

In an attempt to speed up the hearing, the high court sought the police’s assistance in translating the trial court , records from Hindi to English within six weeks.

In February, the trial court had acquitted all the accused, sparking a public outcry. On March 22, the Delhi Police filed an appeal - seeking their conviction on 92 grounds.

First Published: Apr 19, 2006 16:05 IST