Katara's mum testimony credible, cops tell court

Police on Monday told the Delhi High Court that the statement of slain youth Nitish Katara’s mother Neelam, imputing motive to his son’s killers for their offence, can be treated as a “credible” evidence to nail them.

The special public prosecutor was responding to the court’s queries on whether the information shared by the victim with his mother, who in turn deposed it in court, can be treated as credible evidence or be trashed as “hearsay”.

“Statements that constitute the motive behind the offence fall under the exception clause dealing with hearsay evidence, and can be treated as a credible one,” prosecutor Dayan Krishnan told a bench of Justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha.

Neelam Katara, in her statement to police and later to court during the trial, had said that her son had earlier told her that the accused Vikas and Vishal Yadav were averse to his affair with their sister, Bharti Yadav.

The prosecution claimed Neelam’s testimony, despite being a hearsay, was “spontaneous” and cannot be disbelieved as it corroborated the motive behind the offence. Dealing with the law on evidence and various reports of the Law Commission, the prosecutor said, “One can draw the presumption in favour of the statement (of the mother) by relating it to proven facts, such as letters written by Bharti to Nitish and their common photographs.”

Vikas and Vishal had taken away Nitish from a marriage party in Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and had killed him with the help of Sukhdev Pehalwan. The Yadavs and Pehalwan are serving a life term in the case.

The victim had also said that he was in a “relationship” with Bharti and was planning to marry her and the girl’s father, who was against it, may give his approval later, the mother had testified.

The advancing of final arguments in the case remained inconclusive and will resume on Tuesday.

Earlier, the prosecutor had said that the mother’s statement, indicting the accused in the FIR, was “spontaneous, immediate and proximate” to the incident and hence, cannot be disbelieved.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Vishal earlier, had urged the court to reject the deposition of key witness Ajay Katara, who had seen the victim alive for the last time in the company of the accused.

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