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Tandoor case: Court slams prosecution as 'irresponsible', 'half-hearted'
July 17, 2003 19:12 IST
A Delhi court on Thursday flayed the prosecution in the Tandoor murder case for leaving 'loopholes' in the probe and arguing as if it were siding with the accused.
Expressing strong displeasure over half-hearted efforts being made by Special Public Prosecutor A P Ahluwalia, Additional Sessions Judge G P Thareja said, "You (Ahluwalia) being specially appointed have not done anything which a normal prosecutor would not have done. The State is acting as if it is in link with the accused. It has created loopholes. Why is the State behaving like this?"
Lashing out at the prosecution for being 'irresponsible' even with the evidence gathered during investigation, the court noted that they have left major lacunae in the case, which could benefit the accused.
According to the prosecution, after former Youth Congress leader and prime accused Sushil Sharma was arrested in Bangalore by Assistant Commissioner of Police Ranganathan, Sharma had led the investigation team to Pai Vihar Hotel in that city, where he had allegedly stayed.
The prosecution had claimed that Ranganathan had recovered from that hotel many items, including the revolver allegedly used by Sharma for killing his wife Naina Sahni.
But the court noted the ACP had not got the signature of the manager of Pai Vihar after making those seizures. The prosecution also did not examine the manager as a witness thus leaving a void in the case, it added.
The police had recovered parts of the burnt body of Sahni from a tandoor at Baghiya restaurant in Ashok Yatri Nivas in Delhi on the night of July 2-3, 1995.
Earlier, the court had observed: "Arguments could be addressed for about 30 minutes when difficulty was felt with regard to testimony of experts on the following three points: (a) Why exhibits were sent to them (b) What was expected of them and (c) If they came up to the mark as was desired."
"In any case, the state is unable to explain what is the advantage of their work. Ahluwalia said he will make submissions on this aspect tomorrow," the court said,
The court observed the prosecution can take time, but must ensure that justice was delivered.
The court was irked by the irrelevant instances cited by the prosecution and also by the counsel not backing his evidence with reliable arguments.
Though the prosecution referred to the testimony given by many witnesses, many of them were those who had turned hostile during examination and none of them had identified prime accused Sharma.
Ahluwalia tried to justify it saying they must have been influenced by Sharma, but the court said the arguments were not satisfactory.
The prosecution referred to the evidence given by A S Shetty, a customer service officer with Jet Airways, who had said a ticket was issued in the name of Sharma to fly from Jaipur to Mumbai. This allegedly happened on July 3, 1995.
Jagdish, a taxi driver, had taken Sharma to Vatika restaurant and then to Jaipur on the night of July 2, 1995 and had taken Rs 1,500 as fare, the counsel said.
Ashok Chaturvedi, the manager of Vatika, and Dinesh Yadav, a receptionist there, corroborated that Sharma had taken a room there and had left the next morning, he added.