A Delhi court Tuesday ordered de-sealing of The Leela hotel’s suite number 345, in which Sunanda Pushkar was found dead on January 17, 2014, and asked the Delhi Police to file a compliance report by September 26. The court also stated that the Delhi Police submission seeking an extension is “not justified”. The police had sought time to de-seal the suite on the ground that the report by the Forensic Science Laboratory, which visited the suite on September 1, is awaited.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh said that the material lying inside the suite can be collected and de-sealed. “The court is of the view that the reason mentioned for seeking extension of time is not justified and no further time can be given for de-sealing the suite. However, investigating agency/FSL team is at liberty to visit the said suite and collect whatever material/article is lying in said suite and is required for the purpose of investigation before the next date of hearing,” the court said.
The court said that the suite has been sealed for about over three years, and has already led to a huge financial loss being incurred by the hotel. It added that generally after inspection of the crime spot by FSL team or investigating agency, the area does not remain sealed or closed till the FSL result arrives.
To this, DCP (south) Ishwar Singh said, “It is a different case… I wanted time because the FSL has not given its report. This court can summon the FSL team.” The court had summoned Singh to explain why police needed “more time to investigate”.
Appearing for The Leela, lawyer Madhav Khurana said there have been multiple visits, and that all his client is asking is for the suite to be de-sealed. He added that any exhibits recovered from the room can be kept in a separate area. “The safest place for keeping the exhibits would be the FSL lab itself,” he said. Earlier, the court had pulled up the Delhi Police for its
“lethargic” action on the issue of de-sealing the suite. In July, the then Metropolitan Magistrate, Pankaj Sharma, had told police that the hotel cannot be put into “unending” hardship because of the investigation. Sharma had, on July 21, ordered police to de-seal the suite in four weeks. However, he had also granted liberty to the Delhi Police to file an application seeking more time.