No one killed Jessica Lal
No one killed Jessica Lal
Sting Operation Jessica case by Tehelka and Star TV
September 27, 2006
MUMBAI: When he tries, Shyan Munshi — prime witness in the Jessica Lal murder case — can speak good Hindi, good enough to give him the confidence to go for a role in an 'Indo-British production'; he can even show off the differences between Mumbaiya Hindi and Delhi Hindi and Urdu and Hindi. 

Karan Rajput, another witness who did his bit to swing things for prime accused Manu Sharma and company in court, died last year. But his nephew, Jitender Raj (who worked in Tamarind Court as a waiter), friend Surinder and landlord Rajbir Singh are there, vouching for the fact that Karan — before he died of cirrhosis of the liver — got money, to the tune of Rs 25 lakh, from the Sharmas. 

Another of the witnesses, Shiv Das, who used to work as an electrician at Tamarind Court, is also there on tape, admitting he was 'majboor' when he changed his version of things in court. 

The tapes, result of an elaborate three month sting operation by Tehelka, may offer new ammunition to officials probing the case that is now being fought in the Delhi High Court after a sessions court acquitted Manu Sharma and eight other accused. 

The model was gunned down at the crowded Tamarind Cafe, on April 29, 1999, after she refused Manu and his friends a drink. All three — Shyan, Karan Rajput and Shiv Das — initially told investigators that Manu fired two shots, one in the air and the other at Jessica’s temple, that night. All three also signed on Manu’s photo at that time to identify him. 

In court, however, all of them turned hostile, refusing to identify Manu as Jessica’s killer.Additional sessions judge S L Bhayana blamed a shoddy investigation for letting them off; he got a promotion — officially explained as 'due' — soon after. 

Karan Rajput, who died in Jan 2005 of cirrhosis of the liver, ran up bills of Rs 80,000 in two Delhi hospitals, investigations by Tehelka revealed. His nephew, Jitender Raj (a waiter at Tamarind Court), friend Surinder and landlord Rajbir Singh are now on tape, admitting that Karan made 'about Rs 25 lakh' from the Sharmas. "He never worked after the murder," Jitender told reporters. 

"Who paid for all the bills?" he asked. All three said they had accompanied Karan to Sharma properties in Delhi (at Okhla), Chandigarh and Manali. Money was also paid through cheque — it went to an account held by one Arjun Rajput (remember Karan-Arjun?) — they told the reporters on spycam. 

But Karan also, apparently, tried to play a double game. Sabrina Lal, Jessica’s sister, told Tehelka that she had paid him Rs 30,000 as he was 'jobless' and had no money. Sabrina told the reporters that Karan told her he was under 'pressure' from the Sharmas but would still speak the truth in court. When he finally said he was not even in Delhi the night Jessica was killed, he told Sabrina: "They (the Sharmas) had picked up my mother." 

Sabrina also told Tehelka that Venod Sharma (Manu’s father and a senior Congress leader from Haryana) and his wife had paid her parents a visit in late 1999. They did not speak much — Sabrina explained her parents were too shocked to see the parents of the man who had murdered their daughter — but Venod apparently handed over a garland to the Lals before leaving with his wife. "Please put this on Jessica’s photograph," Sabrina quoted Venod as saying. 

The Tehelka tapes now have Shyan, who said he did not know Hindi well enough to know what he was signing when investigators made him sign his witness’ account, showing off his prowess in the language. Posing as a "casting agent" and the "producer of an Indo-British, bilingual production", Tehelka journalists — armed with a spycam — spoke to Shyan for about 20 minutes in Mumbai last Saturday. Sayan, according to Tehelka, showed off his portfolio and discussed the script. 

Prodded by the "casting agent" to show off his Hindi, Sayan said he was comfortable in the language. He had learnt it in classes VI and VII (in Don Bosco, Kolkata), he added. "Aap mujhe chitthi dijiye, main sambhal loonga (You give me the letter, I will manage)," he said, when asked whether the ongoing case would allow him to shoot in the United Kingdom and Germany. 

He also offered his own take on the case: "Bina Ramani ko arrest karne se kya fayda?... Sabko maloom hain (What’s the use arresting Bina Ramani?... Everyone knows)." He also admitted: "They are so powerful people." And the special investigation team, now probing the case, may also be working on the same track. A waiter at Tamarind, Madan, has told Tehelka that he was beaten up by the police to 'admit' Bina Ramani asked him to destroy evidence
Jessica case vs Ram Jethmalani

Sting Operations



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