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Witness who was allowed to vanish

THE DELHI Police need to answer this one. For seven years, they knew who had destroyed crucial evidence in the Jessica Lall murder case by cleaning the blood-stained floor at Tamarind Court at Qutub Colonnade. They had got the man within hours of the murder and had even recorded his statement. But why was this man kept in the shadows and never made a prosecution witness?

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 01:39 IST

THE DELHI Police need to answer this one. For seven years, they knew who had destroyed crucial evidence in the Jessica Lall murder case by cleaning the blood-stained floor at Tamarind Court at Qutub Colonnade. They had got the man within hours of the murder and had even recorded his statement. But why was this man kept in the shadows and never made a prosecution witness?

All senior officers involved with the probe knew about this but none acted against those who tampered with the evidence. Within a few minutes after they got a call, a Mehrauli police team had reached Qutub Colonnade. The crime spot was sealed but the police found the blood stains on the floor had been washed.

The statements of all those present at the spot, including the employees, were recorded. The statement of Surendra Chandra, who worked in the kitchen at Qutub Colonnade, was one of them. Sub inspector Sunil Kumar recorded Chandra's statement under section 161 CrPC. Kumar was one of the key investigating officers directly reporting to inspector Surender Sharma and other senior officers.In his statement to the police (a copy of which is with HT), Chandra said, "On hearing the sound of two gunshots, I rushed out of the kitchen. When I reached the counter, I saw Jessica Lall lying on the floor." "A guest standing there asked me for a cloth and water. I brought him a cloth and water. The guest then wiped Jessica's face. There was blood on the floor too.

One of the guests told me to clean the place. I then cleaned the blood stained floor with a cloth." Chandra's statement is part of the crucial Inner Case Diary papers of the case presented before the trial court. But Chandra was not made a prosecution witness.

First Published: Mar 31, 2006 01:39 IST