Counsel ticked off for maligning Shivani Bhatnagar

March 20th, 2008 - 11:53 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) A city court Thursday ticked off the defence counsel in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case for questioning the character of the slain Indian Express journalist and asserting that “she wanted to spur her career at any cost”. The defence counsel for one of those convicted in the murder had said that Shivani “was crazy about her career” and visited high ranking officers and bigwigs who could give her an opportunity to forward her career.

Counsel also stated that her marrying a man 10-15 years older proved that her motive was that she wanted to achieve something more.

Disapproving the arguments, Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Shastri in his 115-page judgement said: “I think it was the personal choice of Shivani as whom she married. None had any right to challenge her personal liberty. Perhaps we have not come out of this ‘illusive superiority’ of male chauvinism. Why a lonely girl is taken as an easy prey, irrespective of her own whims and responses? I think such comments tend to debauch womanhood.”

The judge relied upon the testimony of Shivani’s sister and her friend, who in their statements disclosed that Shivani and R.K. Sharma had developed an intimate relationship and spoke with each other on telephone frequently.

Sewanti, sister of Shivani, told the court that soon after her sister gave birth to a baby child in a Delhi hospital, Sharma started avoiding her and stopped responding to her phone calls.

Sejal Shah, a friend of Shivani who stayed with her during a scholarship programme in London, stated that Shivani told her that she and Sharma had developed an instant liking for each other.

Sejal said that Sharma used to call Shivani everyday and sometimes she would pick up the phone calls. She also informed the court that Shivani used to cry a lot when Sharma started ignoring her.

Sharma, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, and three others were held guilty of conspiring and killing Shivani Bhatnagar nine years ago at her east Delhi apartment.

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