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Bina Ramani held, let off
Husband, daughter also in Excise net
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8 — The long arm of the law today caught up with fashion designer and socialite Bina Ramani, her husband, George Mailhot and her daughter Malini Ramani.

They have been arrested under the Excise Act for running an illegal bar "Tamarind Court" where ramp model Jessica Lal was shot dead at point blank range by Manu Sharma, son of former Union Minister, Venod Sharma, on April 30.

The police arrested Amit Jhingan, an acquaintance of Manu Sharma, from a South-West Delhi residential colony of Vasant Kunj, for helping him in destroying the evidence, even as Manu Sharma’s friend and main accomplice, Vikas Yadav, son of Mr D P Yadav, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, continued to abscond.

While Bina Ramani, her husband and her daughter have been granted bail by a Delhi court, Amit Jhingan has been remanded to judicial custody till May 21.

The duty magistrate, Mr Rajnish Kumar Gupta, granted bail to Bina Ramani, George Mailhot and Malini Ramani who were arrested under Sections 61 and 68 of the Excise Act.

They were released on a bail amount of Rs 10,000 and a surety of the same amount each.

Amit Jhingan, arrested under Section 201 read with 120 (conspiring to destroy evidence) of the Indian Penal Code, was remanded to 14 days judicial custody by the magistrate.

"Bina, her husband and daughter were arrested after interrogation," the Joint Commissioner of Police, Southern Range, Mr Amod Kanth, said. The police also seized the passports of Bina Ramani, a British national and her husband, George Mailhot, a Canadian national, and Malini Ramani, a US national, Mr Kanth said.

The police was also examining whether Bina Ramani, owner of "Tamarind Court" at Mehrauli in South Delhi, had taken the requisite permission to run business in the country, which was mandatory for foreigners, he said.

"We have seized their passports and are examining all issues in consultation with the foreigners regional registration officer (FRRO)," Mr Kanth said.

Bina Ramani and Malini are key eye witnesses in the Jessica Lal murder case and were being interrogated in connection with the case over the past couple of days.

Jhingan was arrested from Vasant Kunj area late last night on the basis of disclosures made by Manu during interrogation, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), Mr Sudhir Yadav, said.

Some more people who harboured Manu and helped him destroy evidence are likely to be arrested soon, police sources said.

He, however, refused to specify whether Jhingan helped Manu Sharma in hiding or destroying the weapon (a .22 bore pistol) allegedly used to kill Jessica.

The police said after Manu Sharma shot dead Jessica at point blank range, he had hidden himself in a desolate place not far from "Tamarind Court" and he came out after sometime and took a lift on a two-wheeler. The remaining three accused, Alok Khanna, Amardeep Singh Gill alias Tony and Vikas Yadav, had left jointly and they reached Tony’s Friends Colony residence.

Manu Sharma after reaching Tony’s house called one of his friends, Jhingan and asked him to meet him at Tony’s residence. When Jhingan reached there, Manu took him to "Tamarind Court" again. This time to retrieve the weapon.

Manu Sharma had hidden the weapon in a "safe place" near the restaurant. After the weapon was retrieved, Jhingan left Manu Sharma at Tony’s residence and left for his house.

Police sources said Manu Sharma later called another friend, Titu, to meet him at Tony’s residence. Titu had come from the USA to attend a marriage in his family. It was Titu, who finally took the weapon from Manu and promised to hide it. Both of them then parted company.

Titu’s whereabouts, the police said were still not known. Sources said there were chances that after hiding the weapon, Titu flew off to the USA.

The DCP, Mr Sudhir Yadav, said we have raided all hiding places of Titu and have questioned his family. However, he is not traceable.

The police said it was still examining evidence against Bina Ramani and Malini for deliberately tampering with evidence. Sources claimed that one of them had given orders to clean the blood from the floor, thus destroying evidence against the accused.

Mr Kanth said search parties had been rushed to Moradabad to trace both Mr D P Yadav and his son Vikas Yadav.

"Now even Mr D.P. Yadav is evading the police. It seems he has gone underground. We have conducted searches at all his premises but he has not been found anywhere," the Joint Commissioner said.

"We had served notices on Mr D P Yadav to present himself before the police for questioning, but he has not come forward so far," Mr Kanth said.

Mr D.P. Yadav had met city Lt Governor Vijai Kapoor a couple of days back and assured him that he would "turn in" his son to the police as and when he contacted him. With the arrest of Jhingan, the number of persons arrested in connection with Jessica’s murder has gone up to four.

While, Manu, who surrendered to a Delhi Police team in Chandigarh on May 6, is in police custody till May 12, two accomplices of Manu and senior executives of a soft drink major — Alok Khanna and Amardeep Singh Gill alias Tony — arrested on May 4 are in judicial custody till May 19.

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