Court resumes perjury hearings in Jessica Lall case

Friday, February 18, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Delhi High Court Friday resumed perjury proceedings against 19 witnesses who turned hostile in the 1999 murder of model Jessica Lall.

The matter was listed before the division bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and G.P. Mittal.

The court proceedings started with the 19 witnesses, including actor Shyan Munshi, ballistic experts Roop Singh and Prem Sagar as well as electrician Shiv Shankar Dass, marking their presence in the court. However, it could only hear arguments on behalf of five witnesses.

The court directed counsel for the witnesses to furnish a brief note of five to seven pages in each case.

“Make an appropriate note of the case citing division bench and Supreme Court judgement delivered earlier in the case. We want your assistance to complete the case soon, therefore the counsel should just focus on operative part of the case which clarify their role in Manu Sharma’s conviction,” the division bench said.

“Come well prepared with your documents so that we take less time. Therefore make a chart of each of the witnesses who are inter-related to other witnesses being discharged in the case,” it added.

There were 32 eyewitnesses who went hostile, out of which three died and 10 were discharged.

The development occurred after Delhi Police earlier submitted in the high court a copy of the April 2010 Supreme Court verdict upholding the conviction of prime accused Manu Sharma for the murder.

The case has been listed for the further hearing March 15.

Seeking resumption of perjury (lying on oath) case against the witnesses, standing counsel Pawan Sharma informed the court that the apex court has not dropped proceedings against them and, therefore, the high court can now begin hearing the case.

Jessica was shot dead in a restaurant in south Delhi April 29, 1999.

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