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Take Coercive Measures To Bring Bharti To Depose In Katara Case:Delhi High Court

04 October, 2005

Revising the Lower Court order, Delhi High Court today directed the state to resort to coercive measures to bring Bharti Yadav, the daughter of former Parliamentarian D P Yadav, to appear as witness in the Nitish Katara murder case in which her brother and cousin are prime accused.

Acting on the plea of Mrs Neelam Katara, the mother of slain Delhi executive Nitish Katara, Justice R S Sodhi said the trial court should not have dropped England-based Bharti as witness as the prosecution termed her as the material witness and the state could resort to any legal means to bring her for deposition.

"I am of the opinion that Bharti is an essential and important witness in the prosecution's case and that to drop her at this stage would damage the case resulting in failure of justice," said Justice Sodhi.

"The order under challenge permitting the prosecution to drop this witness, is one that does not justify the ends it seeks to achieve. Consequently, I set aside the order of the lower court under challenge. Bharti, who is a prosecution witness, may now be examined in accordance with law," said the order.

As regards securing the presence of Bharti, the Court was not without powers and could resort to any means available to it in law, said the Judge asking the prosecution to initiate coercive measures.

In a petition, Mrs Katara sought the direction of the court for the revocation of the passport of Bharti and application of coercive measures to bring her from England to depose in the case.

Delhi Prosecution branch on September 29 told Delhi High Court that "Bharti Yadav is material evidence and should not have been dropped." Counsel Mukta Gupta appearing for Delhi Government said the deposition of Bharti before the trial court was essential and she should not have been dropped on the request of the prosecutor from Uttar Pradesh.

She said it showed the malafide intention of the Uttar Pradesh Prosecutor to request for dropping of Bharti as the witness.

Counsel P K Dey appearing for Neelam Katara said Bharti had been prevented from coming to India from England to depose in the case.

Countering the arguments of Counsel P N Lekhi and Dinesh Mathur Mr Dey said Bharti had appealed the trial court 39 times in the case mentioning her difficulties in coming to India.

Mr Mathur argued that the summon was never served to Bharti as she had already left for England before proceeding to call her for deposition was moved.

Mr Dey said she knew that she was a witness in the case, so she had engaged a lawyer to represent her during the trial.

Mr Mathur argued that the accused had been languishing in jail without trial for more than a year as the prosecution failed to summon Bharti for deposition.

Earlier in January, 2005, the High Court had dismissed the bail plea of Vishal Yadav, who was nabbed along with his cousin Vikas four years back on charges of brutally killing Nitish in adjoining Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Bharti fled the country after her friend Nitish was allegedly murdered on the intervening night of February 17-18, 2002.

On the application of Mrs Katara, the Supreme Court had ordered for the transfer of the case for trial to the Delhi District Court.

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