November 27, 2020
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Rest of the Defence

Part 4 of 11 of the High Court Judgement: Arguements by Pt. R.K. Naseem and other advocates for the other accused stressed that Tata Safari was not present at the Qutub Colonnade in the first instance and the recovery of this vehicle from Noid

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Rest of the Defence

19. Mr. Jethmalani having concluded his argument on behalf of Manu Sharma, left the remaining arguments to be concluded by Pt. R.K. Naseem, learned Advocate who addressed arguments on the importance of Tata Safari at Qutub Colonnade and thereafter its recovery from Noida. Counsel stressed that the vehicle was not present at the Qutub Colonnade in the first instance and the recovery of this vehicle from Noida was a 'plant'. He contended that the ownership is not in dispute. He also did not dispute that Sidhartha Vashishta @ Manu Sharma is a director of the Company, but went on to contend that the vehicle in question was allotted to Harvinder Chopra which has been amply proved by the statement of PW-25, Manoj Kumar, as also PW-26, Balbir Singh. He also contended that the vehicle was not being used by Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma which is evident from the deposition of PW-44, Shankar Mukhia, and PW-98, Babu Lal. In view of the above, counsel contended that there is no evidence on record to show that Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma was either using the vehicle or was in possession thereof on the night of the occurrence.

20. Advancing his argument further, counsel submitted that the presence of Tata Safari at the Qutub Colonnade has not been proved. PW-83, Head Constable Devi Singh of the PCR reached the spot at 2.17 a.m. and his statement in court is contrary to the statement made to Police and, therefore, he is not a trustworthy witness. PW-78, Shri Sarad Kumar Bishoi does not talk about the Tata Safari in his statement to the police but has improved his statement in court. He too is not reliable and, in fact, a plant as he was supposed to be performing his assigned duty rather than be present at the Qutub Colonnade.

21. PW-100, SI Sunil Kumar, does not talk about Tata Safari in exhibit PW-2/A and, therefore, cannot be of any assistance to the prosecution. PW-30, Home Guard Constable Sarvan Kumar's testimony does not find corroboration from S.I. Sarad Kumar nor from PW-86, Jagannath Jha as also finds no support from PW-47, Jatender Raj, Manager. In other words, there is nothing on record to show with certainty that the Tata Safari was at the Qutub Colonnade on the night of 29/30.4.1999. He supported the findings of the trial court in paragraphs 257, 258 and 259.

22. Attacking the recovery, counsel submitted that there is evidence on record to show that the Tata Safari was recovered from Karnal. This fact having come on record, the assertion by the Prosecution that Tata Safari was recovered from Noida is a manipulation to further the Prosecution's case by planting evidence. The recoveries effected from Tata Safari do not further the case of the Prosecution regarding the broken pieces of glasses. Counsel also severely criticized PW-30 Constable Sarvan Kumar, as being a planted witness who has improved his statement considerably in court. Counsel also contended that the phone calls alleged to have been made by some of the accused persons amongst themselves is no indication that they were involved in any crime. The Prosecution has not placed on record any conversation to suggest such an involvement. Summing up his arguments, counsel strongly relied upon the judgment of the trial court and argued that the Prosecution has miserably failed to bring home the guilt of the accused.

23. Learned counsel arguing on behalf of Shyam Sunder Sharma submitted that although this accused has been charged for an offence under Section 212 IPC, namely, harbouring Ravinder Krishan Sudan, but there is no incriminating evidence to suggest that Shyam Sunder Sharma ever harboured Ravinder Krishan Sudan. Similarly, Harvinder Chopra has been charged for arranging stay of Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma at the house of PW-52, Chander Prakash Chopra, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a charge.

24. Counsel arguing for Yog Raj Singh submitted that the Prosecution in order to prove their case against this accused pressed into service PW-53, Abhijit Ghosal, PW-64 Ravinder Singh Gill and PW-65, Kulvinder Singh but have failed to bring home any evidence in support of the allegation that Yog Raj Singh arranged for Sidhartha Vashisht to be taken to Khera in Muktsar, Punjab. Similar arguments were made in the case of Vikas Gill who was alleged to have taken Sidhartha Vashisht to Panchkula from Delhi. There is no evidence to this effect on record.

25. Learned counsel arguing on behalf of Amardeep Singh Gill stated that the allegation against him is that he drove the Tata Siera car to Qutub Colonnade after the incident to enable Vikas Yadav to remove the same and, therefore, was alleged to have committed an offence under Section 201/120-B IPC is baseless. Counsel argued that the only evidence against Vikas Yadav is him being identified by PW-30, Sarvan Kumar who is not a reliable witness. His presence at Qutub Colonnade is doubtful. Besides, Tata Safari was not reported to be parked at Qutub Colonnade in the first instance. Sarvan Kumar has been a planted witness to prove the events which have got no bearing with the actual crime. In any event, the car which Amardeep Singh Gill is stated to have driven was a Tata Siera belonging to Alok Khanna being car No. MP-04-2634. This is in spite of the fact that Amardeep Singh Gill had his own Tata Siera. Counsel also went on to stress that presuming the Tata Safari was removed by Vikas Yadav with the aid of Amardeep Singh Gill, no offence has been committed since the Prosecution has failed to prove any destruction of evidence by Amardeep Singh Gill or Vikas Yadav.

26. Arguing on behalf of Vikas Yadav, counsel pointed out that even if for the sake of arguments, and without conceding, Vikas Yadav had removed the Tata Safari car from Qutub Colonnade after the incident, the same did not amount to an offence under Section 201 IPC since the accused did not cause any evidence of commission of an offence to disappear nor is it proved that there was any intention to screen the offender from legal punishment. The Tata Safari was not used in the commission of the offence and its removal could not be said to be causing any evidence of commission of an offence to disappear with intention of screening the offender. There is no evidence on record to show that the Tata Safari removed by Vikas Yadav was got repaired. Merely because Vikas Yadav obtained pre-arrest bail or stayed in hotel under an assumed name or that his bail was canceled, has got no relevance with the offence under Section 201 IPC for which he is charged. Counsel also contended that the identification of Vikas Yadav through photographs when he was in fact present, is of no consequence. In any event, there is no evidence to show that Vikas Yadav stayed in a hotel under an assumed name. PW-54, Varun Shah, PW-55 Mukesh Saini, PW-72 Lal Singh and PW-77 Gajender Singh, who were examined in this respect, do not support the Prosecution's case. Counsel relied upon AIR 2004 SC 4965, AIR 1956 Madras 536 and AIR 1956 SC 527, but pressed on the point that photographic identification was a weak piece of evidence specially when the accused is present, and Test Identification Parade could be held. Counsel, therefore, concluded that the material on record does not prove the charge under Section 201 IPC against Vikas Yadav.

27. Raj Chopra is charged for driving the car to enable Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma to go to Chandigarh. Counsel also submitted that there is ample evidence on record to show that the car so used was already under transfer prior to the occurrence. Raj Chopra had no hand in the use of such a car. There is no evidence on record to show the involvement of Raj Chopra nor any evidence to prove the charge under Section 201 IPC against this accused.

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