Cops' failure to place material evidence on record helps accused get acquitted

  • Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2015 10:09 IST

The non-seriousness with which the UT police are pursuing cases in court came to the fore when it "forgot" to place on record material evidence in form of photographs they claimed were taken of an accused driving a tractor-trailer carrying illegally mined sand and attacking and injuring forest guards and cops, thereby facilitating his acquittal.

Hari Ram, a labourer hailing from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh and residing in Kaimbwala village, was booked on March 17, 2013, on the complaint of deputy conservator of forest Kuldeep Sharma. Sharma complained that he was told about illegal mining in Kaimbwala village by the UT forest department staff. Around ten persons and five tractor-trailers were involved in the crime, he had said. The offenders attacked the staff and police personnel and escaped, but one of them was caught along with a tractor-trailer, he had alleged.

The court, however, found his statement inadmissible, as he admitted that he did not go to the spot and his complaint was based on hearsay.

Also, while the police claimed that Hari Ram was arrested on the statement of and identification by Amrik Singh, a forest guard who had spotted the illegal mining and was attacked and injured on trying to stop it, the guard during his testimony said that Hari Ram did not cause any injury to him. He told the court he had complained against Kaka and Jaggi, but the police arrested Hari Ram.

Acquitting Hari Ram, judicial magistrate Pamelpreet Grewal said: "The prosecution has miserably failed to prove the guilt of the accused. Rather, the non-production of photographs showing accused Hari Ram driving the tractor-trailer and attacking the officials, the injured Amrik Singh claiming that the accused Hari Ram did not cause injury to him, rather injury was caused by Kaka and Jaggi, against whom he had given a complaint, and other material discrepancies creates doubt regarding genuineness and veracity of the case."

Commenting specifically on the failure to produce the photographs of the crime, the court said: "Photographs which showed accused Hari Ram driving the tractor-trailer and attacking the staff of the forest department and police officials was the best evidence but the same has not been produced by the prosecution for reasons best known to them. Also, no explanation had been put forward."

Discrepancies that left police red-faced

The police despite claims of having clicked photographs of Hari Ram driving the sand-laden tractor-trailer and injuring forest guards and cops, failed to place these on record as evidence.

The court found the statement of complainant Kuldeep Sharma, deputy conservator of forest, inadmissible as he admitted he was not present at the spot.

Injured forest guard Amrik Singh, during his testimony, said he had complained against two other persons, but cops arrested Hari Ram.

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