People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXX

No. 12

March 19, 2006

COMMENT

Shocking Acquittals In Jessica Lal Case


THE shocking acquittal of all the nine accused in Jessica Lal murder case raises serious questions about the functioning of police and clearly exposes the political pressure under which it is forced to work in the national capital. The trial which lingered on for almost seven years is a glaring example of how politically backed criminals can get away with crimes of most serious nature with the sheer use of money and muscle power.


Senior Delhi police officers, who were in a position of responsibility at the time when the crime was committed - including Amod kanth (presently director general of Police in Arunachal Pradesh), as also the present Delhi police commissioner K K Paul are now after the acquittal of all the accused trying to be whistleblowers and are speaking in different voices! The obvious question that arises now is What did they do at that very time? Aren't they further eroding the credibility of already badly bruised Delhi police?


The decision of Delhi police to register a fresh case now about destruction of, tampering with and fabrication of evidence by "unknown persons", appears to be another eye-wash attempt. It is laughable that a second FIR seven years after the incident happened, that too against unidentified people, is the Delhi police way of diverting attention from the shoddy handling of the case - a move to stem the public outrage at the wake of the acquittals of main accused Manu Sharma and the other eight accused in the murder case.


It appears that Delhi police seems to have learnt no lesson despite a slap on its face in the form of acquittals of all the accused. The fact which needs to be noticed is that Delhi police is under the direct control of union home ministry, and the BJP-led NDA government which was in office at that time, (April 29,1999) needs to explain what efforts did the home ministry take at that time to ensure a fool-proof investigation in this case.


Did the union home minister at that time give directions to Delhi police for proper investigation of the case given the clout enjoyed by the accused? The most important question is why the others present at the private party, where the crime was committed  were not investigated. The owners of the restaurant Malini & Bina Ramani were merely booked under the Excise Act for serving liquor at a non-licensed bar.

 

Why were they not questioned in this case of murder and instead made witnesses by the police? Was the Delhi police under political pressure from the government of that time not to touch the Ramanis? Intriguingly, the police officers have themselves admitted that the crime spot had been disturbed and blood stains had been washed off. Normally, the police should have registered a case of destruction of evidence under Section 201 and of criminal conspiracy under 120(b) against the hosts - the Ramanis - why  was it not done?


More strangely, one of the joint commissioners of Delhi police was at that "private party" - he was merely relieved from his post because he had failed to register that the "private party" was actually at a regular bar that did not have liquor licence. Was any strict action taken against him if not why? The demand for a thorough re-investigation into the case is fully justified and that seems to be the only way by which victimís family could get the already delayed justice. However, this would not be possible till the father of the main accused in the case, who is presently a minister in the Congress government of Haryana is removed from the cabinet, so that no fresh attempts can be made to pressurise the already terrified witnesses in the case. No re-trial would serve any purpose till all those directly or indirectly linked with the case are removed from positions of influence.


The UPA government at the Centre must ensure that the home hinistry closely monitors the investigation of the case, which is essential to restore the faith of the people in this government. The Central government must also advise the Haryana chief minister to ensure the removal of the minister linked with the case immediately.