Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dowry death case: key witness turns hostile

Dowry death case: key witness turns hostile

New Delhi, Sep 14 (PTI) A Gurgaon-based lawyer, a key witness in an alleged dowry death of a newly-wed woman here, today took a complete U-turn in a court here saying "I do not know anything about this case".

Mahender Singh Chauhan, practising as an advocate in Gurgaon district courts, appeared for testifying in the seven-year-old case following the issuance of bailable warrants by Additional Sessions Judge S C Rajan.

The key witness, who had allegedly recorded his statements to the police and the SDM concerned after victim Sarita committed suicide at her matrimonial home here, was declared hostile by the prosecution.

"I do not recollect that I was informed by the father of the victim (a co-villager) that his daughter was harassed by the accused for not bringing Rs 3.5 lakh cash and a car in dowry," Chauhan said while testifying as 19th prosecution witness in the case.

The witness, however, admitted that the statements, given to the police and the SDM, were signed by him.
However, he fell short of endorsing the statement saying "I don not recollect as to whether it was recorded by the SDM on September 1, 2003."

The court has fixed the matter on September 25 for further cross-examination of the witness.Earlier, the court had issued a bailable warrant against the lawyer after he had failed to appear and testify despite being summoned over 15 times.

The case pertained to alleged dowry death of Sarita Devi who committed suicide after consuming poison at her matrimonial house at Chanakyapuri here on August 31, 2003.Narender Yadav, husband of the victim and his parents, have been booked under various penal provisions dealing with dowry death and subjecting a married woman to cruelty.

The father of the victim alleged that her daughter was being harassed for not bringing a car and Rs 3.5 lakh cash as dowry.The alleged torture led her commit suicide within a year of her marriage.

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