Basharat Peer in New Delhi
It was yet another hearing on Friday of the infamous Jessica Lal murder case.
After hearing the arguments of the prosecution as well as the defence counsel, the Delhi High Court reserved the order on the bail plea of the prime murder accused Manu Sharma.
Sharma, who is in judicial custody, had filed an application for bail in March.
The other accused in the Jessica Lal murder case, former cricketer Yograj Singh, Vikas Yadav, son of parliamentarian DP Yadav and Amardeep Singh Gill are out on bail.
The public prosecutor opposing the bail plea of the accused referred to three eye-witnesses in the case turning hostile during the trial and argued that they had been bought over by the accused.
Model Shyan Munshi, who was the complainant, Shiv Das an electrician at Tamarind Court, where the murder took place, and Karan Rajput had backtracked from their statements during the trial.
The prosecutor referred to the case of the electrician Shiv Das, who earlier used to make around Rs 4000 per month as an electrician.
The prosecutor said Shiv Das has now given up his job as an electrician, and is working as a domestic help for Rs 1200.
He raised the question of how Shiv Das is managing his expenses.
The court asked if the prosecutor was hinting at the witnesses being purchased, and the prosecutor replied in the affirmative.
Saxena, the prosecution counsel, reminded the court that two witnesses, businessman Deepak Bhojwani and fashion designer-cum-socialite Malini Ramani had affirmed the presence of the accused Manu Sharma at Tamarind Court on 29 April, 1999, the night of Jessica Lal's murder.
Manu Sharma's defence counsel RS Cheema, however, pleaded that the accused had nothing to do with the crime.
He referred to the statements of the hostile witnesses to substantiate his arguments.
One of the witnesses, Munshi, had told the trial court that there were two men who fired at Jessica Lal and not one man.
To lend weight to Munshi's statement Cheema linked it to the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory report that said that two cartridges picked up by the police from the spot were fired from two different weapons.
Contending that had the accused had nothing to do the case, he told the court that there was a guest list of around 100 persons present at Tamarind Court that night, but there was not even one witness from among those.
Cheema concluded his arguments pleading that bail should be granted to the accused.
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