Senior Advocate and amicus curiae in the Murthal gangrape case, Anupam Gupta, told the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday that nine rapes had taken place in Murthal during the Jat agitation, claiming that the information had been shared with him by senior IAS officer Vijai Vardhan.
Vardhan has denied having had any such communication with Gupta. However, the senior advocate in court on Thursday referred to the officer’s “lack of courage” to stand by his alleged statement.
He told the division bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Amit Rawal that Vardhan lacked the “biological element called spine in his biological structure” and “crashed” under the pressure from the Chief Minister who had pulled him up for sharing information with the lawyer.
He said the information had been shared with Vardhan by the former Haryana DGP K P Singh. Vardhan and Singh were assisting the Parkash Singh committee in probing administrative failures during the Jat agitation.
While declining to comment on Gupta’s statement, Vardhan said he had already told the court in an affidavit that he had had no such communication with the lawyer. He refused to comment any further.
Gupta on Thursday also told the High Court bench that it was another senior officer Ashok Khemka who had made him talk to Vardhan. Although Khemka has never come on record to confirm or deny the assertion, Gupta told the bench, “Khemka is the officer who was hounded by the previous regime and has always been brazen, but my friend has even come under stress because of the current dispensation.”
Asked about Gupta’s comments in court, Khemka said: “The witch-hunt and hounding continues, albeit motives are different. It started in October 2012 and seems unending. The honest are hounded by the corrupt. The nefarious designs of corrupt interests seem to be unfortunately succeeding.”
The revelation on the number of rapes came as hearing in the case resumed before a new PIL bench of the High Court and Gupta was summarising the case background for the bench. The case was earlier being heard by a PIL bench headed by Justice S S Saron, who retired on September 3.
Gupta also told the bench that Haryana was in the state of denial and that IGP Mamta Singh had been under pressure from higher ups to not proceed in the case. He was cut short by the counsel representing Haryana government, saying the officer is not present in the courtroom.
“If the Murthal case is handed over to CBI, the owner of Sukhdev Dhaba (who had spoken to media after the incident) will speak,” said Gupta.
The bench desisted from making any observation, saying it will have to go through the records of the case. The case will now come up for hearing on November 6.