Tuesday, December 19, 2006

High profile murder cases hogging headlines

Jessica Lall case:

Jessica Lall was a model in New Delhi who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a socialite party when she was shot dead on April 29, 1999. Dozens of witnesses pointed to Siddharth Vashisht, a.k.a. Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a powerful Congress politician in Haryana, as the murderer. Due to inadequacies in the investigation and an overall shoddy prosecution, Manu Sharma and a number of others were all acquitted by Judge S. L. Bhayana on February 21, 2006.

Manu Sharma was convicted in a reopened case as per judgement delivered on 18th December 2006. Manu Sharma was represented by famous lawyer Ram Jethmalani and court proceedings in reopened case was conducted in fast track manner by daily hearings for over 25 days.

For more details about the case see here.

Priyadarshini Mattoo case:

Priyadarshini Mattoo was a 22 year old law student when she was found raped and murdered at her house in New Delhi on January 23, 1996. On October 17, 2006, the Delhi High Court found Santosh Kumar Singh guilty on both counts of rape and murder and on October 30, the same year awarded him capital punishment. Santosh Kumar Singh, the son of a Police Inspector-General, had earlier been acquitted by a trial court in 1999, and the High Court decision was widely perceived in India as a landmark reversal and a measure of the force of media pressure in a democratic setup. This decision went in favour because the facts were not presented correctly in the lower court. The intense media spotlight also led to an accelerated trial, unprecedented in the tangled Indian court system.

For more details see here.

Nitish Katara case:

Nitish Katara was an executive in Delhi when he was murdered in the early hours of February 17, 2002. The son of an IAS officer in the Ministry of Shipping, he had recently graduated from the Institute of Management and Technology, Ghaziabad, where he had fallen in love with his classmate, Bharati Yadav. It is widely believed that he was murdered by Bharati's brother Vikas Yadav. Vikas Yadav is also one of the co-accused along with Manu Sharma in the Jessica Lal case.

Bharti Yadav is the daughter of DP Yadav, well-known criminal leader in Western Uttar Pradesh who has also served as a member of the Indian Parliament. The family apparently did not approve of the alliance, and Nitish was threatened several times. He was finally kidnapped and battered to death with a hammer before his body was dumped and burned.

For more details about the case see here.