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Whose Life Is It Anyway?
Coverage: Jessica Lal murder
'We are not covering up anything!'
'We do not want Manu Sharma to be hanged'
Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Thursday said the person who killed model Jessica Lal [Images] did not do it because she did not serve him liquor but because she refused something else.
"The offence was committed by someone not for liquor but for something precious he had expected from her. The drinks, party etc are only a cover up. The truth is something different," he claimed before a Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Justice R S Sodhi and Justice P K Bhasin.
At this point, the Bench asked Jethmalani whether he meant that Jessica was doing something other than serving the liqor at the bar.
Answering the Bench, Jethmalani said that the person could have got drinks anywhere in the world but he had gone there much after the party was over at 1.30 AM. "He knew that he will not get that precious thing anywhere else which he had expected from her."
Emphasising that the motive in the prosecution case is inadequate, he said the person got provoked after her refusal to fulfill his demand and killed her. He left it to the court to use its "imagination and further interpretation".
"The provocation is much higher in strength and intensity and it had challenged his sexual manliness," Jethmalani alleged.
Referring to a submission made by the Special Public Prosecutor in the trial court, the senior lawyer claimed that even SPP's submission has corroborated the different motive of the killer.
Jethmalani parried a question from the bench whether he ruled out that Sharma did not have the same motive the killer had.
Bringing to the court's notice the investigating officer's testimony, he claimed that the IO's statement corroborated the fact that the killer had a different motive.
The IO had sought court's permission for custodial interrogation of the accused Vikas Yadav and others to know about different motive behind the murder, he argued.
"They (prosecution) failed to find the motive and got stuck to a false case against Sharma because it was an embarrassment for the police to reveal the truth," the counsel also argued.
Going one step ahead, Jethmalani alleged that the truth was hidden by the prosecution at the instance of those police officers who were present there and sought the bench to provide him the SIT report submitted by the police to it.
"I want all the SIT report to be present. The three that were filed by the police to be produced. You will find something sticky in the reports," the lawyer argued alleging that police fabrication against his client was on even at this stage.
Jethmalani relied on the testimony of hostile witness Syan Munshi who had stated that the fatal shot was fired by someone other than Manu and said Munshi's statement corroborated the first ballistic report from an expert.
According to the first information report, two empty catridges were fired from two different firearms. "The evidence casts a serious shadow over the theory of prosecution. A man in white T-shirt and blue jeans had fired at the rooftop but it was not Sharma who was wearing that dress," he said.
Jethmalani contended before the bench that the prosecution had failed to obtain a ballistic report against Sharma then they went for a second opinion from another expert. The second expert P S Minocha had also submitted a report before the trial court corroborating the two-gun theory of first report during his testimony, he argued.
According to prosecution, Minocha while answering a trial court's query that whether two empty catridges were fired from one pistol said that the disputed weapon was required to give a conclusive report.
Countering Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium's objections about the trial court's question to the second expert, Jethmalani submitted that the judge had every right to ask the question to ensure a fair trial to the accused persons in the case.
Despite reports from two ballistic experts, the police had filed the chargesheet against Sharma and eight other accused in August 1999. Not only that police had provided copy of the reports to the accused persons only after an order passed by a Magistrate Court, the lawyer accused police of suppressing the report.
Meawhile Jethmalani slammed media for "misreporting" his Wednesday's arguments about a Sikh gentleman who was present in the party. The press has carried stories wrongly quoting him that the third accused Amardeep Singh Gill had killed Jessica Lal, he said.
"Whatever I say here is being flashed by our so called TV anchors. They never flashed whatever ASG Gopal Subramanium had submitted for prosecution, trouble started only when I began my arguments," he added.
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