Ramani in the dock
She is a suspect now, says court
THE DELHI High court on Thursday observed that the curbs on socialite Bina Ramani, a key witness in the Jessica Lall murder case, are justified as she is now a "suspect", after the registration of a fresh FIR for destruction of evidence in the case.
A division bench of justices Manmohan Sarin and Manju Goel gave this observation while hearing an appeal filed by Ramani, a British passport holder, against a single bench's refusal to grant her permission to leave the country on March 31.
The court, however, did not pronounce a final order and adjourned the matter to Friday for Delhi Police to file objections. This means Ramani cannot fly to Thailand on Friday to attend her niece's marriage (the purpose of her trip as she claimed in her petition).
As the proceedings began, Ramani's counsel Mukul Rohtagi questioned the lookout circular against her, saying she was not accused of any offence and was a witness. The court responded: "She is a witness in the murder case but she is a suspect, if not an accused, in a case which has been freshly registered."
Ramani's counsel denied she has been named as an accused in the new FIR, prompting the court to reiterate: "No, she is a suspect."
After the fresh FIR, the Ramanis are being questioned about destruction of evidence relating to the Jessica case. The blood stains on the floor at Tamarind Court had been washed off, allegedly on their orders. The court's observations is significant as the police had filed the fresh FIR against "unknown persons".