Delhi Joint Commissioner of Police Amod Kanth has admitted that the prosecution's case in the Jessica Lal murder case has been affected by two key witnesses turning hostile.
Witnesses Shayan Munshi and Shiv Dass turned hostile and refused to confirm the prosecution's case. Both witnesses denied that model Jessica Lal was shot dead by Manu Sharma, when she refused to serve drinks to him and his friend Tony Gill.
Munshi was a bartender with Jessica on April 29, 1999 at socialite Bina Ramani's restaurant, Tamarind Court, when she was allegedly shot dead by Sharma. The restaurant was located at Qutab Colonnade, near Mehrauli, in south Delhi.
"The case has received a major setback with two witnesses turning hostile," Kanth told rediff.com on Saturday morning. "Unfortunately, under Indian law, you cannot prosecute witnesses for perjury. The police cannot do anything once the case is in court."
Members of Jessica's family were shocked when they heard the two witnesses depose before Additional Sessions Judge H R Malhotra.
Jessica's father Ajit Lal has appealed to those who attended the party that fateful night to come forward and give evidence. "I cannot believe what happened in court. We have lost Shona (Jessica). We now want justice," he said.
But the Delhi police has not lost hope yet.
"We are banking now on evidence that will be given by other witnesses in the next few weeks. One of those whose testimony will be crucial is Bina Ramani," a senior police officer said.
The police had booked Ramani, her husband Georges Mailhot and her daughter Malini under the Excise Act for serving liquor without a licence.
Setback for prosecution in Jessica Lal murder case
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