Delhi News

Delhi: Convict freed due to typo by HC; court says protect witnesses

Delhi: Convict freed due to typo by HC; court says protect witnesses

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has asked policemen to protect the witnesses and the complainant in a murder case in which the convict was set free due to a typographical error in its judgement disposing of his appeal.

A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also directed the arrest of the convict whose forthwith release was ordered by the high court on December 24, 2016.

The direction came on the pleas by three of the witnesses in the case.

The court on February 14, 2017 had modified its December order by deleting two sentences of its judgment that said the convict be sentenced “to the period already undergone of 16 years and 10 months” and that he “be released forthwith if not required in any other case”.

It had also ordered Tihar Jail’s Superintendent to take appropriate action against the convict and intimate the high court.

However, since his release the convict, Jitender, was missing and now the high court has directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to take steps to take him into custody at the earliest.

Jitender, a former Delhi University student, was awarded 30 years jail term by a trial court in one murder case and to remain in prison for the rest of his life in another.

One case was with regard to the murder of a student union President of Satyawati College here and the other was for shooting dead the father of an eyewitness in the first case.

On March 10, 1999, Jitender had stormed into a wedding reception in north Delhi and had shot dead Anil Bhadana, the then president of Satyawati College Students’ Union.

The prosecution had contended that Jitender had killed Bhadana as he was about to depose against him (Jitender) in a criminal case.

The next day, he had gone to the house of one of the eye witnesses who had informed police about Bhadana’s murder.

Jitender had pumped three bullets into the chest of the eyewitness’ father, killing him on the spot, police had told the trial court.

The high court, however, had modified the jail term saying the sentence awarded by the trial court was in excess of the requirement of the situation.

It had said that “tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye” cannot be the criteria for handing down punishment to convicts in a civilised society.

PTI