February 17, 2009 1:14:13 am
When CBI special judge Rama Jain appeared in court on Monday to hear the Arti murder case of the Nithari trials,father Durga Prasad of the seven-year-old victim was not present. He was instead represented by his new lawyer from the Supreme Court,Praveen Kumar. Prasad now wants Moninder Singh Pandher to be named as co-accused in the case where Surinder Koli is the lone accused. The CBI had given Pandher a clean chit in all 16 chargesheets filed.
A car driver by profession,Prasad has hired the Supreme Court lawyer to fight his daughters case.
I want Moninder Singh Pandher to be named as an accused. I did not depose against Pandher earlier,as the CBI sleuths misled us. They had warned us about consequences. I overheard Pandher telling the Noida Police that he was sorry for what he and Koli had done. But now,I am determined to fight against all odds to get justice for my dead daughter, Prasad said. Earlier in the day,Jhabber Singh Main,Prasads old lawyer,waited for him to come to court,as he did not know that Prasad had hired a new lawyer. I had been calling Prasad since morning,but he did not respond, said Singh.
Legal experts,however,believe that retracting his statement could cost Prasad dear.
In Payals case,her father had first named Pandher and then retracted his statement,alleging pressure from the lawyer. He was booked for perjury. Prasad could be similarly booked, said a senior lawyer of the Ghaziabad court.
The next hearing in the Arti murder case has been scheduled for March 4; the verdict will be pronounced on March 16.
Durga Prasad and his wife,Neelam,are residents of Nithari village. I had to give up my job,as I was summoned every now and then to the CBI office, Prasad added.
Arti was a student of kindergarten,who disappeared on September 25,2006. She had come home from school around noon that day and then left to buy sweets.
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