//President's intervention sought in Jessica Lal case

President's intervention sought in Jessica Lal case

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Monday said it has written a letter to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam seeking his intervention to ensure a retrial in the controversial Jessica Lal murder case.

"We appeal to the president to intervene and help in putting Lal’s murderers behind the bar," said DCW chairperson Kiran Walia in a statement. Lal, a famous fashion model, was murdered in April 1999. A Delhi court last week acquitted all the nine accused in the case for lack of evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge S.L. Bhayana said the prosecution had failed to prove its case. The acquittals have raised a storm with demands that the case be retried.Walia in her letter also questioned why no case was registered against those who had tampered with the evidence.

"It is a serious aspect to ponder over why these discrepancies were not brought to the notice of the court at any stage during the trial," she said.The Commission has also sent a copy of the letter to Chief Justice Y.K Sabharwal and Home Minister Shivraj Patil. The DCW has also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the allegations of evidence tampering.

Commenting on the need for a retrial in the case that was initially considered an "open-and-shut" case, Walia said: "An appeal in the high court would not be enough since it would take into account the same documents and evidences that have already been tried earlier and led to acquittal of the accused."

The retrial may be sought in a fast track court to speed up the proceedings, she suggested in her letter.

"We also need to look into reasons for such endless delays in cases, and make provisions for punishment for changing statements in case of hostile witnesses," Walia noted in the letter.

"It would be a shame if after seven years of trial, the accused in a point-blank range murder went scot-free," she noted.