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HC seeks report from Delhi Police
Jessica Lall murder case 
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 24
As the detailed judgement in model Jessica Lall murder case has highlighted lopsided investigation and shoddy prosecution by the Delhi Police, resulting in the acquittal of all nine accused, including key accused Manu Sharma, the Delhi High Court in an unprecedented suo motu action sought entire details of it from the city Police Commissioner.

Taking cognizance of media reports on the trial court judgement, stating how the case was “spoiled” from the very beginning by the officers involved in the investigation, and also highlighting the report of present Commissioner K.K. Paul as the then Joint Commission to his boss Ajay Raj Sharma (Commissioner) on the “shoddy” probe, a Bench of Mr Justice Vijender Jain and Ms Justice Rekha Sharma issued notice to Mr Paul.

Listing next hearing of the matter on April 19, the court directed the Police Commissioner to place on record the status report detailing entire circumstances of the case with full facts within four weeks.

Additional Sessions Judge S.L. Bhayana had on February 21 acquitted Manu Sharma, the son of Haryana minister Venod Sharma, Vikas Yadav, the son of former Rajya Sabha MP D.P. Yadav and seven other co-accused, all friends of the former, in the absence of sufficient evidence.

Almost all witnesses in the case either had turned hostile, or had given inconsistent statements during the cross examination.

The main lacunae in the part of investigating officers was their failure to recover the gun used to shoot down Jessica Lall and alleged “planting of an empty cartridge” to show the forensic report that two bullets were recovered from the scene of crime, fired from two revolvers. This was recorded as a major weakness in the prosecution theory by the trial judge.

Jessica Lall was shot dead in the full view of around 400 persons in a party organised by socialite Bina Ramani in a restaurant, Tamrind Court, in Qutub Colanade, on the night of April 30, 1999.

This is for the second time that the High Court had taken cognizance of the matter. It had also entertained a PIL on shoddy probe of the case soon after the incident when it was highlighted in media, but it closed the proceedings on it at that time after senior officers of Delhi Police had given a categorical assurance that the investigation would be done in right earnest.


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