New Delhi: Vikas Yadav, a convict in the 2002 Nitish Katara murder case, on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that a forensic expert had testified that it was "less likely" that the victim was killed with a hammer, the alleged weapon of offence.
Referring to the testimony of Dr Anil Singhal, who had conducted the postmortem of the victim, Vikas`s counsel U R Lalit said the expert had opined that there was "less" chances that the injury on the head of the victim was caused with the hammer, allegedly recovered at the instance of the accused during the probe.
"I must confess to the court that I am not a medical expert and I will go by the advice of the expert that there was less chances that the victim was hit with the hammer, recovered by the police in the case," the lawyer told a bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha.
He also raised questions about the credibility of several disclosure statements, made by Vikas during the probe on the ground that they were not signed by him.
Sumit Verma, another counsel for Vikas, referred to various case laws to buttress his argument that Vikas` "unsigned" disclosure statements cannot be relied upon against him.
During the hearing, Justice Mittal told victim`s mother Neelam Katara that she may go out of the courtroom as the lawyers were discussing in details the postmortem report of her son.
"I have been through all this several times in the past. Please, continue with the hearing," Katara said and added she would like to witness the proceedings.
The final arguments in the case remained inconclusive and would continue on May 14.
Vikas, son of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, had
earlier said that the trial judge had "brushed aside" the findings of a sting operation "discrediting" the testimony of key witness Ajay Katara.
"Ajay Katara, courtesy whose testimony I was convicted and have been in jail for last 10 years, took a complete u-turn in a sting operation and claimed that he was a planted witness and in fact was not there at Hapur chungi (a tax collection booth) where he allegedly last saw the victim alive in the company of three accused," the lawyer had said.
Witness Katara had testified that he had seen Nitish alive last in the company of Vikas, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehalwan in a Tata Safari on the night of February 16-17, 2002 near Hapur octroi post.
The statement was relied upon by the trial judge as the "last seen evidence" to link the offence with the accused.
Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehalwan were awarded life term for killing Katara, a business executive, after abducting him from a marriage party at Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002.
The prosecution had said Katara was killed for his alleged intimacy with Vikas` sister Bharti.
The convicts had moved the high court seeking reversal of the trial court`s findings. Police and Neelam Katara, the mother of slain youth Nitish Katara, have filed appeals for award of death penalty, saying the offence was of the "rarest of rare" category.