State vs Sidhartha Vashisht And Ors. on 18 December, 2006

Equivalent citations: 2002 IVAD Delhi 477, 2002 (3) Crimes 370 Bench:

 R Chopra Sidharath Vashisth @ Manu Sharma vs State on 20/3/2002

JUDGMENT R.C. Chopra, J.

1. The petitioner is the main accused in case, commonly known as “Jessica Lal Murder Case”. According to the prosecution, the petitioner had fired two bullet shots, one of which hit the deceased Jessica Lal resulting in her death. Shri Ram Jethmalani, Senior Advocate, while pressing for regular bail to the petitioner, has pointed out that all the three alleged eye-witnesses have failed to support the prosecution case and as such, there is no evidence whatsoever against the petitioner to connect him with the offence. He also contends that the prosecution case suffers from an inherent infirmity inasmuch as according to one of their own experts, the two bullets alleged to have been fired at the spot were fired by two weapons and not one, as alleged by the prosecution. According to him, the prosecution is merely flogging a dead horse knowing fully well that the petitioner is not likely to be convicted and as such, the petitioner deserves to be enlarged on regular bail.

2. It has to be pointed out that this Court while considering an earlier bail application filed on behalf of the petitioner had considered in detail aforesaid submissions made on behalf of the petitioner and after enumerating various incriminating pieces of circumstantial evidence declined to enlarge the petitioner on regular bail. The incriminating circumstances discussed in detail in the order dated 3.9.2001 continue to stand in petitioner’s way and as such, this Court is of the considered view that there are no good and sufficient grounds for grant of regular bail to the petitioner.

3. It is, however, to be noted that while dismissing the petitioner’s application for regular bail on 3.9.2001, this Court had observed that the trial be expedited and if possible, concluded within a period of four months. The prosecution could not complete its evidence within four months. Thereafter another application for bail was moved on behalf of the petitioner which came up before this Court on 25.01.2002. It was submitted on behalf of the prosecution that out of remaining prosecution witnesses, only two were public witnesses and the remaining were official witnesses. The said two witnesses Jagannath Jha and Dinesh Kumar were stated to be not traceable and it was submitted that the prosecution was trying to locate them, which may take some time. Considering the fact that the trial was getting prolonged, the petitioner was ordered to be released on interim bail for a period of six weeks. After expiry of the interim bail, the petitioner is stated to have surrendered and is presently lodged in jail.

4. Learned counsel for the petitioner has pointed out that out of the two public witnesses, one Jagannath has already been traced out and examined by the prosecution, but he also has not supported the prosecution case. The other witness Dinesh Kumar is stated to be still not traceable. Learned counsel for the State has submitted that efforts are being made to locate him through the Ministry of External Affairs as he is reported to be in Nepal. When asked as to how much time the prosecution may take in tracing out the said witness and examining him before the Trial Court, it was submitted that about four months’ time is required. It is also pointed out by learned counsel for the State that P.W. A.K. Dutt whose tape-recorded conversation with proclaimed offender R.K. Sudan was being relied upon by the prosecution for proving that the petitioner had handed over the weapon of offence to him after committing the offence has disowned his voice and steps are being taken by the prosecution to get the tape-recorded conversation tested by experts to show that it was the voice of P.W. A.K. Dutt only and more else. He submits that this exercise is also likely to take about two months. Considering the contents of the tape-recorded conversation between P.W. A.K. Dutt and proclaimed offender R.K. Sudan in regard to the disappearance of the pistol of the accused petitioner after the incident in question, this Court is of the view that the evidence in regard to the voice of P.W. A.K. Dutt in the tape-recorded conversation would be extremely material for the prosecution and as such, prosecution has good grounds foir taking time to prove the same.

5. However, the fact remains that the trial is getting delayed without there being any fault on the part of the petitioner and inspite of directions issued by this Court to expedite the trial. This Court is of the considered view that the petitioner may be given interim bail again for a period of ten weeks during which period the prosecution must endeavor to get the voice of tape-recorded conversation tested and also trace out P.W. Dinesh Kumar for his examination before the Trial Court.

6. The application is, therefore, partly allowed and it is ordered that the petitioner be released on interim bail for a period of ten weeks from the date of his release upon his executing a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 1 lac with two sureties in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Trial Court subject to the condition that the petitioner shall not leave India without permission of this Court and shall not visit Delhi except on the dates on which the trial is fixed. He shall deposit his passport, if any, with the Trial Court. He shall not do anything to interfere with or tamper with the prosecution evidence and in case he is found doing so, his bail shall be liable to be revoked immediately. On expiry of ten weeks from the date of his release, the petitioner shall surrender before the Court concerned.

7. The petition stands disposed of accordingly.


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