Staff Reporter

Under the provisions of CrPC, police can file additional chargesheets if new information is obtained

NEW DELHI: One of the reasons why the Delhi police decided not to go ahead with full investigation, when an inquiry in 2001 first indicated that the probe in the Jessica Lal murder case was being botched up, was the risk of the defence taking advantage of the move and seeking relief for the accused from the court.

Police officers

Under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the Delhi police could have filed additional chargesheet after investigating the role of the police officers and other agencies at the helm of the case. As per Section 173 (8) of the CrPC, the police can, at any point of time during the trial of a case, file additional reports of investigations (chargesheets) if new information, verbal or written, is obtained.

The same option was available to the Delhi police when the inquiry first indicated about a possible collusion between the accused and other agencies, including the police officers, in the Jessica Lal murder case.

But by that time, the case had already suffered a major jolt as a forensic report in 1999 had talked about the two-gun theory for the first time.

Internal inquiry

The report had said that the two cartridges recovered from the scene of crime had been fired from different weapons.

The police had till then been saying that only one gun, which could never be recovered, was used.

The first note indicating collusion was sent to the then police chief only in 2000 and the report of the internal inquiry by a senior officer was available only in 2001.

Delhi Police Commissioner, K. K. Paul, who had then conducted the inquiry in his capacity as the Joint Commissioner (Crime) said the legal opinion at the time was that the defence, in all probability, would have taken the plea that since the police investigations were incomplete their clients were wrongly being put behind the bars and that they should be given bail.

Petition

Also, the Delhi High Court had already disposed of a public interest litigation in which it was alleged that the Delhi police were not investigating the case properly and that the case be handed over to other agency.

But before disposing of the petition, the Court had asked a key investigating officer in the case whether any offence was made out against the person who was responsible for washing off the bloodstains from the scene of crime.

The officer had told the court that an additional chargesheet would be filed in this regard if necessary. But, it was never done.

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