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Gokulraj Murder: Madras High Court initiates contempt of court proceedings against prime witness Swathi for lying under oath

The case was initially considered a suspicious death but was later changed to murder after the postmortem showed that the victim was strangled to death.

It was later proved in court that Gokulraj had been killed as he was a Dalit, and the woman he was allegedly in a relationship with, belonged to the dominant ‘Gounder’ community.

Gokulraj, an engineering student, went missing on June 23, 2015. He was last seen along with a woman friend at the Arthanareeswarar temple at Tiruchengode. Later, his headless body was found by the railway track in Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district.

The prosecution, the sessions court and the High Court, were of the view that the CCTV footage from the temple showed that the woman in the video was Swathi.

However, Swathi maintained before all authorities that she cannot identify the woman.

On November 25 this year, the High Court bench showed her the video footage and yet, Swathi refused to identify herself.

The Court asked her whether she was under duress or was facing any threat upon which she began to weep before fainting in court.

The Court then warned her of the legal implications of lying under oath and told her to make up her mind and come back to the Court on Wednesday, November 30.

However, on Wednesday too, Swathi stood by her statement. She said that while the man in the video was Gokulraj, she was not able to identify the woman walking with him.

Before the trial court too, after Swathi had turned hostile without giving any reasons, she was charged with perjury and the case is pending hearing before a magistrate’s court.

On Wednesday, the High Court said that since it was initiating contempt proceedings against Swathi, the perjury proceedings will be merged with the contempt case and that it will be transferred from the magistrate’s court to the High Court.

Source: Barandbench

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