New Delhi: A ballistic expert, facing
perjury notice for allegedly introducing two-weapon theory in
the Jessica Lall murder trial, on Tuesday claimed innocence before
the Delhi High Court saying he did not deviate from his report
which was "inconclusive".
"I never gave two contradictory and conclusive reports
and the notice for my prosecution for the offence of perjury
was not maintainable as I was an expert witness and did not
deviate from my report," the counsel for ballistic expert Prem
Sagar Minocha told a bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat
and G P Mittal said.
Minocha is among 31 prosecution witnesses who were
issued perjury notices by the High Court for allegedly taking
a somersault during the trial of Jessica murder case which led
to the acquittal of Siddharth Vashist alias Manu Sharma and
eight others by the lower court.
The High Court then reversed the verdict which was
later upheld by the apex court.
During the hearing, Delhi Police opposed the plea of
Minocha that he being an expert witness cannot be tried for
the offence of perjury.
It was Minocha, who during his cross-examination,
introduced the two-weapon theory, which was contrary to the
report, and helped the accused, police had claimed.
"For the commission of offence of perjury, a witness
has to retract from his earlier statement and here, he
appeared to assist the court for the corroboration purposes,"
the defence counsel said.
The report, which was based on the scientific
analysis, was inconclusive, Minocha said.
Besides Minocha, eight other witnesses, who are facing
perjury notice, also advanced their arguments.
The bench has now the fixed the matter for April 21
for hearing rebuttal arguments on behalf of Delhi police.
Earlier, it had questioned the prosecution of all the
witnesses, who took somersault during the trial, saying the
incident of "turning hostile" has become an "endemic" and all
such persons cannot be painted with same brush.
"How the case of prosecution will move? The incidents
of witnesses turning hostile and doctored evidence have become
an endemic now. Some fears for his life, some gets tempted and
some does not support (the prosecution) for obvious reasons.
Should we go ahead and prosecute all of them?," it had asked.
The case dates back to April 1999 when Lall was shot
dead by Manu Sharma after she refused to serve drink to him at
a late night party at socialite Bina Ramani`s restaurant
Tamarind Court here in South Delhi.