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Counsel's help sought to ensure presence of Bharti Yadav

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Counsel for Vikas Yadav, prime accused in the Nitish Katara murder case, on Wednesday responded constructively to a suggestion by the trial court here that he should help in the appearance of Bharti Yadav, a key witness in the case, in the court for recording her evidence.

When Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur advised K. N. Balagopal, counsel for Vikas Yadav, to assist the court in securing the appearance of Ms. Bharti saying that "it is in your interest'', Mr. Balagopal responded with the submission that "it is food for thought and we will look into it''.

Mr. Balagopal made this submission when Ms. Kaur said that if Ms. Bharti came to the court to record her statement, she would ensure that no one except the prosecution, defence counsel, the court staff and security personnel remained present in the courtroom during the proceedings.

"The ball is in your court as Ms. Bharti is your family member,'' Ms. Kaur observed.

Earlier, Ramesh Kumar, an Under Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, informed the court that the Ministry was not aware of the status of the non-bailable arrest warrant (NBW) issued against her by the court.

He further submitted that the Ministry required another week to respond to the court's queries about the execution of the warrant.

The court allowed his plea and posted the matter to May 11 for further hearing.

While issuing the warrant in March this year, the Judge had directed the Union Home Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry to execute the warrant.

The External Affairs Ministry had last month revoked the passport of Ms. Bharti in order to force her to come to the country and appear in the court, yet she failed to appear.

Soon after the incident, Ms. Bharti had shifted to London and enrolled herself in a professional institute there.

However, the prosecution's charge against Ms. Bharti is that she has moved to London to avoid recording of her evidence.

Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav, son and nephew respectively of former Rajya Sabha member D. P. Yadav, are facing trial in the case for allegedly kidnapping and later killing Nitish Katara.

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