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Police make headway in Jessica Lal murder case

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Jessica Lal
Jessica Lal

Devesh K. Pandey

Missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle being put together now for appeal in High Court against acquittal of the accused... .

NEW DELHI: The Delhi police have come across several crucial aspects of investigations that were not explored properly during the trial court proceedings in the sensational Jessica Lal murder case that resulted in acquittal of all nine accused.

The police will now include the findings in their appeal to the Delhi High Court against the acquittals.

Two-weapon theory

While the forensic report pertaining to the two empties found at the scene of murder led to the much talked about two-weapon theory that went against the police claim of use of a single weapon, the police have now found that the post-mortem report on Jessica's injuries was not properly discussed.

Dr. R. K. Sharma, who conducted the post-mortem, just deposed in the court stating the cause of Jessica's death, which was due to a head injury caused by bullet that was ante-mortem in nature.

Technical examination

Some senior police officers are of the view that the post-mortem report could have been further explored to get at the truth. "Apart from the injury, the size of the wound, its probable angle and other aspects could have been put forth in a bid to connect the empties recovered from the spot to the injury. A technical examination could also have helped in establishing whether the bullet that hit Jessica was of .22 bore (the one owned by the prime accused in the case) or any other bore," opined one senior police officer.

Crucial aspect

Since in any murder case the post-mortem report is considered most basic and a very crucial aspect at the trial stage, these points would be included now in the appeal.

Site plan

The second important piece of evidence that appears not to have been brought in is the "site plan" of the scene of murder -- an initial exercise during the investigation that plays a crucial role at the trial stage. The site plan is prepared immediately after the occurrence of crime. During this exercise, the investigating officer prepares a sketch of the scene of crime denoting the spot where the body of the victim was lying, its direction, the manner in which it was lying, the placement of the weapon of offence, if any, and the location of other evidence collected from the site.

Investigating officers also take help from draftsman to construct the site plan in important cases.

Important points

While the site plan helps the investigating officer remember important points pertaining to the case even after a long period, it also helps him easily explain to the court what and how exactly things happened before and after the crime. According to a police officer, "it may also help explain the probable location of the accused at the scene of crime." Despite these facts, the site plan in this case was virtually overlooked and photographs of the spot were not taken into account.

In Jessica's case, according to senior police officers, the post-mortem report and the site plan could have helped the police to counter the two-weapon theory that had come about because of the suspected replacement of cartridges due to an alleged conspiracy between the accused and certain officials.

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