Jyoti murder: Panchkula Police left out too many loopholeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/jyoti-murder-panchkula-police-left-out-too-many-loopholes/

Jyoti murder: Panchkula Police left out too many loopholes

Court did not give importance to circumstancial evidence, say ‘hapless’ cops.

Himachal Pradesh MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary was acquitted along with 11 others in the 16-month long trial, in the case of murder of Jyoti Kumari.
Himachal Pradesh MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary was acquitted along with 11 others in the 16-month long trial, in the case of murder of Jyoti Kumari.

Srishti Choudhary

It was an unbelievable ‘perfect murder’ if the Panchkula Police’s claim has any takers who failed to prove the alleged crime leaving Jyoti murder mystery unsolved. The officers who were supposed to ensure justice to Jyoti’s family after her gruesome murder, kept beating around the bush rather than focusing on ‘direct evidence’ that could have nailed the accused.

Left with egg on their face after acquittal of a dozen accused in the case, the fact was on Saturday admitted by the ‘hapless’ cops who claimed that ‘the court did not give importance to their circumstancial evidence’ and acquitted all the accused.

Himachal Pradesh MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary was acquitted along with 11 others in the 16-month long trial, in the case of murder of Jyoti Kumari, 24, whose body was found in Sector 21 on November 22, 2012.

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The investigating officers could neither find any direct evidence against either of the accused, nor could keep their witnesses intact. Many of the key witnesses including Jyoti’s father, and the cops themselves turned hostile during the trial.

Attempting to defend the sloppy investigation, the then DCP Ashwin Shenvi, who headed the SIT, said, “There were certain things that could not be scientifically proved. Yet, we gave ample circumstantial evidence to prove the accused’s guilt. But the court did not give much weightage to such proofs and wanted direct evidence. In such a case, it is difficult to get direct evidence. There were certainly some mistakes in the initial investigations, but they were not glaring.”

The then ACP Krishan Kumar, a member of the SIT, chose to pass the buck. “I joined the investigation at a stage when the supplementary challan had already been submitted in the court. I am in no position to comment on the investigation that was done by my predecessors.” The SIT was formed on March 21, 2013, four months after the incident came to light.

Similar statements were given by the then ACP Naraingarh, Suresh Kaushik, who co-headed the SIT. “A lot depended on the initial investigation, and I would not like to comment on it. We made a lot of efforts to collect evidences regarding Jyoti’s abortion and the fake SIM cards.”

However, Virender Sangwan, then ACP (Headquarters), who led the initial investigation, and co-headed the SIT, said that there was no faults in the investigation, and he does not know what went wrong. Blaming the media for making the police an easy target, Sangwan said, “We had given all evidences that we could gather. But, in any case, police is the easiest target to pass the blame.”

Meanwhile, the then Investigating Officer of the case, Inspector Ajay Rana did not respond to repeated phone calls and messages.

Police goof-ups during investigation

Handwriting samples: The SIT wanted to nail Chaudhary on the basis of his handwriting samples procured from the nursing home where he allegedly accompanied Jyoti for getting her pregnancy terminated. However, they failed to keep the witnesses intact, who later turned hostile during the trial. Shenvi terms it as one of the ‘key direct evidence establishing motive behind the murder.” However, the court refused to acknowledge this evidence as a ‘direct evidence’ and relied upon the witnessed who did not support prosecution theory.

Entry of Truck: The SIT had submitted evidence, which showed that the truck, and the car in which accused Paramjeet came, had entered Panchkula through Toll Plaza at Chandimandir on the fateful evening. But, the court wanted the circumstantial evidence including this, to be beyond any reasonable doubt, said the police.

Missing link: Satpal, Chaudhary’s car driver, could not be traced by the police, and the SIT. Shockingly, Shenvi puts the blame on the court and said, “The court should have emphasised on producing Satpal in the court. The court never showed interest in him. Though we tried our best to trace him, but we could not.”