SEVEN MONTHS after the murder of his son, Gaya businessman Shyam Sunder Sachdeva cannot understand why the teenager’s four friends have turned hostile in a Gaya court.
“After all, they are the ones on whose statements the case was lodged. They alone can say why they have changed their statements,” Sachdeva said.
Sachdeva’s son Aditya, then 18, had been shot dead after he and his friends had overtaken a Land Rover owned by Rakesh Ranjan aka Rocky Yadav with their Maruti Swift on the road from Bodh Gaya to Gaya.
Rocky is the son of JD(U) MLC Manorama Devi. He is in jail with the Supreme Court having cancelled his bail.
Three others are accused in the case: the MLC’s bodyguard Rakesh Kumar, Rocky’s cousin Teni Yadav and Rocky’s father Bindi Yadav.
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They are out on bail. The first two had reportedly been in the Land Rover while Bindi Yadav was named for allegedly tampering with evidence.
Asked if he believes the four friends turned hostile under pressure, Sachdeva said, “I have no idea, but there has to a definite reason.” Yet he added, “I still have faith in police, government and the judicial system.”
Aditya’s friends Ayush Agrawal, Ankit, Nasser Hussain and Mohammed Kaifi are the four eyewitnesses among 35 witnesses. “The very case was lodged on their complaints. They had recorded their statements before a magistrate under CrPC section 164.” Sachdeva said.
According to the case, Aditya was sitting in the middle of the rear seat when a bullet pierced the rear window and struck the back of his head. The four boys had originally asserted Rocky was present on the scene but recently told the court they did not see who had fired the bullet.
The younger of the two sons of Shyam Sunder and Chand Sachdeva, Aditya had written his Class XII results. He wanted to study hotel management.
Public prosecutor S D N Singh agreed the case has suffered a setback with the four eyewitnesses turning hostile but insisted the case is “not yet dead”. “There has been corroborative circumstantial evidence. Plus, the four boys had willingly recorded their statement under CrPC section 164,” Singh said. “A fifth witness, Sunil Kumar, guard of Manorama Devi, did confirm that the Land Rover belonged to the family.”
Rocky Yadav’s lawyer Qaiser Sarfuddin, on the other hand, insisted his client had not been present. “We have been maintaining since the beginning that Rocky was not present. The statements of the four eyewitnesses only confirm as much,” he said.
Aditya had celebrated his 18th birthday on April 19. His mother Chand Sachdeva had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “do something so that no mother suffers such a tragedy”.
“Aise hi bache ko goli maar denge toh Bihar mein maaon ki kokh sooni ho jayegi [If they shoot our children like this, Bihar’s mothers will be left childless],” Chand Sachdeva, then 51, had said.
The Sachdeva family has been living in Gaya for 65 years. Before that, they had lived in Punjab.