October 29, 2020
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PW-24: George Mailhot

Part 9 of 11 of the High Court Judgement: 'He identified Sidhartha Vashisht as the person whom Beena Ramani was following. He also testifies having followed Sidhartha Vashisht on foot up to Adam Khan's tomb at which point Sidhartha Vashisht va

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PW-24: George Mailhot
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41. Although the case against Sidhartha Vashisht stands fully proved by the testimony of PW-20 alone, yet we find sufficient corroboration to her testimony from the deposition of PW-24, George Mailhot, who deposes to the holding of the Thursday party on the fateful night and goes on to say that around 2.00 a.m. he was standing in the courtyard near a large tree about 20 feet away from the restaurant facing opposite the entrance gate of the restaurant when he heard two popshots like balloon. He turned towards the restaurant door and within few seconds Shyan Munshi came running saying that someone had shot Jessica. The witness went towards the restaurant and saw Beena Ramani, PW-20, addressing a young man who was moving around and Beena Ramani was following him and saying that 'you are the one, give me the gun'. He identified Sidhartha Vashisht as the person whom Beena Ramani was following. He also testifies having followed Sidhartha Vashisht on foot up to Adam Khan's tomb at which point Sidhartha Vashisht vanished. The witness then went on to the Police Station to lodge a report where he found that the report had already been lodged. He came back to Qutub Colonnade and found that Beena Ramani had already taken Jessica to the hospital. The witness subsequently saw Sidhartha Vashisht at Police Station Mehrauli.

42. In cross-examination on behalf of the accused, Sidhartha Vashisht, this witness was primarily cross-examined about his personal background and his interest in the property called 'Qutub Colonnade' as also about the nature of parties being organized there on Thursdays as well as on other days of the week. It was also elicited from him in cross-examination that after the incident, when the Police reached the spot, couple of bottles of liquor were mysteriously recovered from the restaurant by the Police. Relying on this statement also of George Mailhot, senior counsel for Sidhartha Vashisht submitted that this witness himself also wants to convey that the Police had foisted a false excise case against his family members and because of that they were pressurised to falsely implicate Sidhartha Vashisht. 

This argument also cannot be accepted because admittedly the accused in the excise case had been convicted on their pleading guilty. A perusal of cross-examination of this witness also shows that virtually there is no cross-examination on the material aspect of his testimony in the form of his examination-in-chief except for a general suggestion given by him at the end of his cross-examihnation that he had identified accused Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma at the asking of the Investigating Agency which, of course, he denied categorically. 

There is no particular challenge to his statement that his wife, Beena Ramani, was following the accused Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma after the firing incident and on her telling him to follow Manu Sharma he had followed him upto a place from where he disappeared. Therefore, this part of the testimony of this witness fully corroborates the version of Beena Ramani to the effect that she had followed the accused Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma only after the firing incident. Here again we may notice that as far as the presence of the accused Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma at the time of the incident at the Qutub Colonnade is concerned, the trial court itself has accepted the Prosecution's case and categorically held that he along with his associates was present. 

We fully endorse that finding of the trial court and even counsel for the respondents before us, except for making a half-hearted submission that this finding of the trial court is not supported by any reasoning, no other cogent reason was given by them to reverse this categoric finding of the trial court regarding the presence of Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma, Amardeep Singh Gill, Alok Khanna and Vikas Yadav at the spot. It was elicited from him that he had been visiting Police Station almost every day. It was on account of this statement made by him that it was argued on behalf of the accused that Ramani family was being pressurised to falsely implicate Sidhartha Vashisht as otherwise there was no occasion for the Police for calling Ramani family to the Police Station for days together when they were material Prosecution witnesses for this murder case. We have already rejected this argument being devoid of any merit.


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