NEW DELHI

My husband has not made any confession, says Madhu

NEW DELHI OCT. 5. A day after the reported `confession'' by Ravi Kant Sharma, prime accused in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, his wife Madhu Sharma maintained her stand about his innocence.

Armed with a court order, Madhu Sharma today met her husband at the Crime Branch office in Adrash Nagar, where he has been kept in police custody. However, his daughters Pragati and Komal, were not allowed to meet him, and throughout their vigil outside the police station, they maintained, "All we want to do is meet our father. We haven't seen him for two days.'' When questioned, their standard reply was: "Please ask Mummy.''

Madhu also did not have to sit on an "indefinite dharna'' that she had threatened after being refused permission to meet her husband for the past 72 hours.

Emerging after the 20-minute meeting with her husband, Madhu complained of "severe torturing'' and said: "My husband has made no confession contrary to reports. The police are making their own set of stories and trying to put pressure on him. I know what confessions the Delhi police can plant. My husband's lawyers have informed me that Ravi Kant Sharma was not able to speak. This obviously means that the police have been continuously torturing him. The case is being given priority only to hide the facts and nothing else.''

Talking about her meeting with her husband, she said: "I took the newspaper to my husband and underlined the lines for him and asked him if he had confessed. He shook his head in denial.''

Meanwhile, Madhu also alleged that all the case diaries had been destroyed and new case diaries had been written to falsely implicate her husband.

Asked about the condition of her husband, she said: "My husband's face was swollen and he seemed to have been put on sedative by the police.''

Allegations about mishandling of the case by the Delhi police also surfaced in her emotionally-charged statement given to the Press today.

Madhu also alleged that the police were ignoring Shivani's "connection'' in 1996 which could throw more light on the case. "The police have been ignoring every fact of the case and working overtime to implicate my husband.''

She added that the police were even advising her not to hold press conferences, as they feared that "I might be killed by someone. However, today I have sought permission from my husband, who has authorised me to talk anywhere and whenever I felt like.''

Defending her husband, Madhu seemed oblivious of the crowd that had gathered around the station to catch a glimpse of her and her daughters. The police had to cordon off the entrance to keep the crowd out.

Amid the presence of scores of people from Sharma's native village who were chanting slogans against the Delhi police, Madhu said: "When the Delhi police had conveyed in the court that 10 days of remand was necessary for him to be taken to Mumbai, Pune and other places, I wonder why he was not taken even to Gurgaon.''

Meanwhile, her relatives accompanying her claimed that they too were being harassed by the police and that their telephone lines were being tapped.

``On the one hand Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani says the underworld don Abu Salem would be spared if deported to India, and on the other a decorated police officer is being subjected to such inhuman actions and being falsely implicated in a murder case. What justice is this'' questioned Madhu as she left the police station.

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