Police files appeal in Delhi HC

The acquittal of the nine accused was a grave error on part of the trial court.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 15:21 IST

The Delhi Police on Monday challenged acquittal of all nine accused in the Jessica Lall murder case in the Delhi High Court.

The acquittal of the nine accused, by Additional Sessions Judge SL Bhayana, was a grave error on the part of the trial court.

The court had failed to take into consideration the circumstantial evidence gathered by the prosecution, the appeal said.

The appeal comes three weeks after the Patiala House court acquitted Haryana minister's son Manu Sharma, former Rajya Sabha MP DP Yadav's son Vikas Yadav and seven others of all charges in the 1999 murder of the ramp model.

Others acquitted were Amardeep Singh Gill alias Tony, Aloke Khanna (both senior officials in a leading soft drink company), Shyam Sunder Sharma (relative of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma), Harvinder Chopra, Vikas Gill, Raja Chopra, and former Indian cricketer Yograj Singh.

Two others, Ravinder Krishan Sudan alias Titu and Dhanraj, were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

According to the prosecution, Lall was shot dead by Sharma at the Tamarind Court, a restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at the Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi on the night of April 29-30, 1999.

The others were accused of criminal conspiracy, harbouring a suspect and destruction of evidence.

However, during the course of the seven-year long trial, three key eyewitnesses -- model-turned actor Shayan Munshi, Karan Rajput and Shiv Das -- had turned hostile, which dented the prosecution's case considerably.

In his 179-page judgement, ASJ Bhayana had hauled up Delhi Police for its shoddy investigation in the case, and said the prosecution had "miserably failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt against any of the accused".

The court also concluded "all the links in the chain of evidence produced by the prosecution were either missing or broken".

Further, it said the police "had decided to fix the accused in this case even though there was no evidence available with them about his (Manu's) involvement".

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 12:48 IST