Socialite Bina Ramani, a key witness in model Jessica Lal murder case, was on Wednesday arrested in Goa, two days after a Delhi court issued a non-bailable warrant against her in a cheating case.
Ramani was arrested from a restaurant owned by her in Candolim, about 20km from Panaji, by a Special Investigation Team of Delhi Police and Goa Police at around 8 pm, senior police officials told PTI. She will be brought to Delhi on Thursday, they added.
The warrant against Ramani was issued in a case of cheating and forgery for acquiring a license to run a restaurant in south Delhi where the ramp model was shot dead. Police alleged Ramani obtained the license misrepresenting that she was the owner of the restaurant named Qutub Colonade on the basis of forged documents and served liquor without having any valid license.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau had issued the NBW, to be executed on or before September 15, on the prosecution's allegation that Ramani has not been joining the investigations and has been evading meeting with the investigating officer despite efforts to contact her.
The court had observed that her custodial interrogation was necessary in view of the nature of the allegations levelled against her.
Ramani's arrest came on a day when she approached a Delhi court seeking bail in the cheating and forgery case. In her application, Ramani alleged she had unnecessarily been framed in the case.
According to the FIR lodged against Ramani on March 6, after the acquittal of all the nine accused in the Lal murder case, police alleged that she had not procured a valid license from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for serving liquor but had only the permission for an eating house.
During the investigation it was found that Ramani and her husband George Mailhot had supplied certain documents to MCD mentioning that they had become owners of the restaurant. They had also submitted a rent note dated May 8, 1986, a No-Objection Certificate, rent receipts and other documents bearing the owner Diwan Chand's signature, which were found to be forged, alleges the FIR.
Believing the given information, MCD issued a license to run an eating house to Ramani who had also submitted a ration card, which was never issued by the Food and Supply Office.
Ramani, on her part, has accused the Delhi Police of cooking up charges against her to keep her and her family, all key witnesses to the murder, away from the case, which hit the headlines after the acquittal of all the accused.
"The case was seven years old for which we have already paid the penalty," she had said reacting to the issuance of warrant against her.
"We are key witnesses in the case. They are trying to eliminate us by raking up this dead issue. Yes, we did not have a license to serve liquor when the murder took place but we have already paid the price for that," Ramani had said.