16 Nov, 2006. NEW DELHI: Chipping away the testimony of prosecution's "sheet-anchor" Bina Ramani, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said on Wednesday that even if her entire statement was taken at face value, it cannot be proved that Manu Sharma shot Jessica Lall. The senior counsel raised doubts over Bina's deposition before the trial court, in which she claimed to have seen Jessica "falling down", while she ran into the accused, along with Shayan Munshi. Claiming that Bina concocted the story, he told a bench comprising justices R S Sodhi and P K Bhasin that she had "indulged in falsehoods"and was compelled by the police to give an induced statement. "I wonder why your lordships have not yet asked me to stop my arguments. The prosecution's case has been totally demolished by contradictory statements of their witnesses,"Jethmalani said as he narrated the testimonies of Madan Kumar and Jitender. Both had stated they entered Tamarind Court with Bina after Jessica was shot, and that all three had wrapped Jessica in a white bedsheet, before rushing her to a hospital. Jethmalani argued that Bina's evidence had been demolished by the statement of these two prosecution witnesses, "Her evidence does not advance the prosecution case at all. Only Shayan Munshi saw who shot Jessica Lall and he has said it was not Manu Sharma."He also questioned on what basis Bina claimed she had seen Manu with Shayan after the shooting. "Shayan in his testimony never mentioned anything about Manu, and she too has not stated anywhere in her testimony that the fatal shot came from Manu." Turning to Malini Ramani's statement next, Jethmalani reiterated that the police had compelled her to concoct a story that Manu demanded whisky from her minutes before the crime, and had even passed vulgar comments when she refused.
"If at 1.45 am Malini was
searching for a drink, reasonable inference is she must have been sozzled.
How could she recognise if the man was Manu or somebody else? And why did
her companion Sanjay Mehtani not react when Malini was insulted? He acted
like a doormat and was not even made a witness in the case,"he argued.
'It's a double murder of Jessical'
A tall Sikh, not Manu,
shot Jessica: Jethmalani
New Delhi: It seems that
senior counsel and Manu Sharma's defence lawyer, Ram Jethmalani is out
to shock the High Court with new arguments everyday. On Thursday, Jethmalani
told the court that model Jessica Lall was not murdered because she had
refused to serve a drink after Tamarind Court's bar had closed down but
because of some other severe motive.Jethmalani suggested that the drink
controversy was just a cover up for all the "other kind of activities"
that went on Tamarind Court.He said that Jessica Lall had "challenged the
manhood of the man who shot her".
Jessica case: Jethmalani's
In his application, Sharma's counsel Ram Jethmalani sought that the bench of Justice R S Sodhi and Justice P K Bhasin, which is hearing the present appeal, to refuse from hearing the matter as one newspaper had carried a report saying that Justice Sodhi refused to hear Manu's bail plea in 2002 as he (Justice Sodhi) had been approached by someone.
The Bench also observed that upto the High Court level, "we adopt an open court hearing of every case and they are open to public debate, discussion and criticism.
"Insulating ourselves will result in a great injustice to the parties involved in the matter," the Bench added.
The Bench will hear tomorrow an appeal filed by Delhi Police challenging Sharma's acquittal by a trial court, after Jethmalani said he will consider his position and inform the court.
After the order, Jethmalani
said he had not yet decided whether to challenge it in Supreme Court and
whether to appear at all on behalf of Manu or not.
In Manu’s defence, Jethmalani
seeks transfer of Jessica murder case
New Delhi, November 3. In
a new twist to the proceedings in the Jessica Lall murder case appeal,
noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani, the counsel for prime accused Manu Sharma,
moved the Delhi High Court wanting the Bench including Justice R S Sodhi
to recuse itself from hearing it.
Jethmalani moved an application to this effect before a Bench of Mr Justice R. S. Sodhi and Mr Justice P K Bhasin, in which his client also sought to initiate contempt action against the newspaper.
The court issued notices on the application to the parties concerned, including the newspaper, seeking their replies by November 7.
Jethmalani said though he was under pressure from media not to appear in the case but he would continue to defend his client and would not succumb to such pressure.
Jethmalani said if the judges, specially Mr Justice Sodhi to whom the newspaper report had made certain references about his statement during the hearing of Manu’s bail application in 2002, wanted to “recuse” himself from the case, he could do so and transfer it to some other Bench.
He said such media reports amounted to casting aspersion on the court and had the potential to apprehend prejudice.
Following his submission, Mr Justice Sodhi observed that the court was aware of the newspaper report but it was not going to make any effect on it and the Bench was also not going to “succumb” to such developments.
The court told Jethmalani to continue to argue the case and it would hear the application moved by him on November 7 after the replies were filed by the parties concerned.
As Delhi police counsel Mukta Gupta said that the prosecution also want to file a reply, the court said it was up to it whether it wanted to respond to the application or not.
At the same time the court also said it knew how media was used in such sensitive cases, which had been hogging the headlines all through.
Mr Justice Sodhi clarified that the he had not made the statement attributed to him in the newspaper in the manner it was tried to be projected when the bail application had come up for hearing before him in 2002.
The high court is hearing the appeal of Delhi Police against the acquittal of Manu Sharma by the trial court in the murder of Jessica Lall. The prosecution had alleged that he shot dead the ramp motel a restaurant here in April 1999. Several of his close friends and relatives were also accused in the case for harbouring and helping him after the crime.
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