Bollywood actor Shayan Munshi, who is facing prosecution for allegedly turning hostile in Jessica Lall murder case, has been granted bail by a Delhi court which fixed the matter for February 5 for hearing arguments on the framing of charge.
Munshi, who had appeared before the court in pursuance to a summon issued against him, moved the bail plea which was allowed by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Prakash on the ground that the offence alleged against him was bailable.
"The present complaint under section 195 CrPC read with section 340 CrPC has been filed against the accused in respect of offence under section 193 (giving or fabricating false evidence in a judicial proceeding) IPC which is bailable in nature.
"Having regard to the entire facts and circumstances, the accused is admitted to bail on furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 50,000 with one surety of like amount....," the court said.
It also imposed several conditions on Munshi, saying he would regularly attend the hearings and shall not influence witnesses or tamper with the records in any manner and would inform it before leaving India.
Meanwhile, another accused Prem Manocha, who was then working as a ballistic expert, also appeared before the court in connection with the case and his counsel placed on record the certified copy of September 20, 2013 order passed by the Supreme Court by which proceedings against him have been stayed.
The court adjourned the proceedings against Manocha till February 5, next year. Munshi, who was led as primary witness of prosecution the Jessica murder case, and Manocha are accused of lying on oath during trial before the sessions court and introducing the "two-gun theory", which was the primary defence taken by the convicts.
The Delhi High Court registrar had filed two separate complaints against them in September after the high court had passed an order on March 22 directing their prosecution for perjury.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had taken cognisance of the complaints filed by high court registrar and had summoned both the accused.
Seeking Munshi's prosecution under section 193 IPC, the complaints said, "This change of statement by him was to clearly align himself with a defence taken by the accused in trial that there were two persons at the spot with firearms and that two shots had been fired from separate weapons.
"The evidence of accused Shayan Munshi was on a material and critical position of the case," it said.
The complainta had said the trial court had acquitted the accused saying from statements of Munshi and Manocha it cannot be said that the two shots were fired from the same firearm.
Munshi was at the bar counter when Lall was shot dead on the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma, after she refused to serve him a drink at a late night party at socialite Bina Ramani's restaurant Tamarind Court here in South Delhi.
It was on Munshi's statement giving an account about Sharma and the incident which had led the police to lodge an FIR. He later retracted while deposing in the court that the shot, which hit Lall, was fired by some other person.
Munshi had also disowned his statement, saying it was recorded in Hindi as he did not know the language.
Regarding Manocha, who was the Deputy Director, State Forensic Science Laboratory, Rajasthan, the complaints had said he also changed his stance to "align himself" with the defence taken by the accused persons, whose acquittal by the trial court was later set aside by the high court.
The high court had in December 2006 issued notices to Munshi and Manocha to show cause as to why action be not taken against them for perjury.
After the inquiry, the high court had on May 22 ordered that they be tried for perjury.