A court in New Delhi on Saturday asked the Delhi Police to apprise it about providing protection to key witnesses in the maid’s murder case in which BSP MP Dhananjay Singh and his wife Jagriti Singh have been chargesheeted. The court asked the police to file a written submission in this regard on March 21. It was hearing a bail petition filed by Mr.Dhananjay, the sitting MP from Jaunpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr.Dhananjay had approached the court after his bail plea was dismissed on February 22 by Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma on the grounds that, being an influential person, he could intimidate the witnesses who are yet to be examined.

In his bail petition, Mr.Dhananjay had said that since the two key prosecution witnesses in the case had already been provided protection by police, there was no likelihood of him trying to intimidate them.

Security cover had been extended to the key witnesses as per an order passed by a magisterial court in November, 2013. During the hearing on Saturday, the court asked police to submit a status report on whether the witnesses had been given protection as per the order passed by the magisterial court.

The magisterial court, while dismissing the bail plea of Mr.Dhananjay on November 20 last year, had directed police to provide protection to the principal witnesses till the time their statements were recorded.

Mr.Dhananjay was chargesheeted for various offences under the IPC, including alleged destruction of evidence and abetment of the offences of murder and attempt to murder.

Ms. Jagriti has been chargesheeted for offences under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 344 (wrongfully confining for 10 or more days), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the IPC. The couple were arrested on November 5 of last year in connection with the death of their 35-year-old maid Rakhi Bhadra, a resident of West Bengal. Mr. Dhananjay and Ms. Jagriti, a dental surgeon at a government hospital in New Delhi, are lodged in jail in judicial custody.

The police, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Ms. Jagriti used to “mercilessly beat” her three domestic helps and had “compelled” them to work by holding them captive. Rakhi’s body, with injury marks on her legs, chest and arms, was recovered from Mr. Dhananjay’s South Avenue residence on the evening of November 4, 2013. Earlier, police had chargesheeted Mr. Dhananjay in a separate case for allegedly repeatedly raping a 42-year-old railway employee for nearly four years.

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