A local court presided over by an additional sessions judge convicted and sentenced five men to rigorous imprisonment for five years for beating up excise officials on the Kalka-Shimla highway near near Kumharhatti in 2013.
The court also imposed a fine Rs1,500 on each of the five, identified as Gama Ram, Sandeep Kumar, Deep Kumar, Jagdish Kumar and Sandeepo alias Sunil, in default of which all the convicts would have to further undergo imprisonment for three months, rigorous imprisonment for three years and pay a fine of Rs 1,000. In default of payment of fine they will further undergo imprisonment for two months and rigorous imprisonment for two years and fine Rs 500, in default of payment of fine imprisonment for one month and imprisonment for two years and fine Rs 1,000 , in default of payment of fine imprisonment for two months to each accused persons. All the sentences will run concurrently.
The court also convicted a resident of Jubli village in Ambala district, Taro Devi, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year and fine Rs 500, in default of payment of fine further imprisonment for one month.
Giving details, deputy district attorney Mohinder Sharma said Baddi assistant excise & taxation officer Sher Singh, excise inspector Arun Jasal and a peon, Virender Sood, had set up a checkpost at Kumarhatti Chowk on National Highway 22 on the night of September 29, 2013 to conduct vehicle checks. Near about midnight a vehicle bearing the registration number HR37 C5793 came from Solan loaded with scrap. Sood stopped the vehicle and Jassal demanded the documents of loaded scrap from the occupant of the vehicle, but they could not produce the same.
The excise officials assessed the valuation of the scrap and imposed a penalty of Rs 30,000 for the violation as they were not having any bill of goods and had not paid tax. The occupant of the vehicle told them that the bill of goods was lying with the owner and they started contacting him on their mobile phones. At about 1.30 am two vehicles belonging to Gama Ram arrived at Kumarhatti chowk along with other accused persons except accused Taro Devi.
After reaching the scene of the crime, the accused started shouting and abusing the excise officials and dragged Sher Singh from his official vehicle and also asked to leave their vehicle on taking Rs 3,000. On refusal of the excise officials to accept bribe, they started beating the excise officials and forcibly dragged them in a jeep and proceeded towards Shimla. On the way the accused threatened them to set on fire by putting patrol on them and also asked to insert liquor bottles in their mouth to implicate them in a false case.
On the way Taro Devi joined them at Dedgharat and slapped Sood, verbally abusing the officials. At Kandaghat they had taken their vehicle to former 'pradhan' Haminder Thakur and told him the excise officials were collecting money at Kumarhatti. Thakur asked the accused to take them to the Kandaghat police station; accordingly they proceeded towards the police station along with the excise officials. The excise officials then lodged a complaint with the police.
The accused and the excise officials were later taken to the Dharampur police station where an FIR was registered against the accused under sections147, 148,149,353,332,364 & 506 of the IPC.
During the trial the prosecution examined 18 witnesses and in defence four witnesses were examined. After hearing arguments of both parties, all the accused except one, Ajay Thakur, who was driver of Gama Ram's vehicle, were found guilty and convicted. Thakur was acquitted for want of evidence against him.