The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, issued bailable warrants against all nine accused, including prime suspect Manu Sharma, in the Jessica Lal murder case.
The orders came within minutes of the hearing of a review petition filed by the Delhi police, challenging the acquittal of all nine accused by a trial court.
The trial Judge S L Bhayana had, in his judgement, said that the Delhi police and the prosecution failed to present concrete evidence against the accused.
A Division Bench of Justice Manmohan Sarin and Justice Manju Goel restrained the acquitted persons from leaving the country till further orders and asked them, including Manu Sharma, to appear before the court on April 18, the next date of hearing.
The bailable warrants were issued after Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and state counsel Mukta Gupta sought non-bailable warrants against those acquitted in the case on the grounds that one of them had already left for the United States and others may follow.
Following public outrage and a media outcry, Delhi police commissioner Dr K K Paul had constituted a special team headed by special commissioner U N Katna. The team has, so far, examined more than 20 witnesses, including one who had turned hostile in a fresh case that has been registered.
Jessica Lal, a model, had been shot, alledgedly by Manu Sharma, at Tamarind Court, a Delhi restaurant on the night of 20 April 1999.
With PTI inputs
Complete coverage: The Jessica Lal murder