Jessica case witnesses get two weeks to explain

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"HOSTILE WITNESS": Bollywood actor Shayan Munshi at the Delhi High Court on Thursday.
"HOSTILE WITNESS": Bollywood actor Shayan Munshi at the Delhi High Court on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

"Why did you retract your original statements given to the police?" asks Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: Tightening its grip on hostile witnesses, the Delhi High Court has directed them to inform itwithin two weeks why they retracted their police statements during the trial of the Jessical Lal murder case.

The matter will come up for hearing on February 19.

When three of the 29 witnesses summoned by the Court failed to appear on Thursday, it issued non-bailable arrest warrants, forcing them to surrenderwhen it resumed hearing after lunch.

A total of 32 witnesses had turned hostile, but three of them died during the trial.

While convicting former Haryana Minister Venod Sharma's son Siddharth Vashishtha alias Manu Sharma of Jessica's murder, the Court held Vikas Yadav, son of former Rajya Sabha member D.P. Yadav, and erstwhile multinational executive Amardeep Singh Gill guilty of destroying evidence. At the same time, the Bench had summoned the witnesses to show cause why they should not be prosecuted for retracting their police statements

Actor Shayan Munshi, Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of former Union Minister Natwar Singh's son Jagat Singh, and ballistic expert Prem Sagar Manocha, who tendered evidence contrary to his own report about the examination of empties of .22 bore cartridges recovered from the scene of the crime in South Delhi, are among the witnesses who appeared in the Court on Thursday.

The trial court had acquitted all the nine accused in the case holding that the prosecution had planted witnesses to frame Manu Sharma.

The High Court set aside the trial court judgment on an appeal by the prosecution. However, itupheld the acquittal of six of the accused.

Ramp model Jessica Lal was shot dead at aparty organised by socialite Bina Ramani at an illegal bar at Qutub Colonnade on the night of April 29-30, 1999.

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