Are Panchkula police not pursuing cases properly in the district courts or are framing innocent persons? Information procured by Hindustan Times under the RTI Act about cases lost by police in the district courts between January 1, 2011, and May 9, 2012, not only reveal poor investigations, but also non-appearance of investigating officers as witnesses or police differing on their statements in courts.
Panchkula police lost as many as 51 cases during this period, owing to faulty investigations. This excludes cases where material witnesses turned hostile.
The RTI information also revealed that despite all this, there was not even a single instance of departmental action against any policeman for faulty investigations.
There were a number of cases where independent witnesses were not associated with recoveries, case property was not sealed or produced in court and seized arms not submitted for forensic tests.
Cases not fit for appeal due to faulty probe
Case 1: In State vs Pardeep Kumar case, registered under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC, the acquittal of the accused took place on March 28, 2012. The district attorney (DA) opined for action against the investigating officer for faulty probe. He wrote, "...investigating officer had overlooked the injuries on the person of the deceased and had even overlooked the fact that the body was hanging about eight feet above the ground and as such there was no chance for the woman to have committed suicide by hanging herself." He added that the conduct of IO showed his "biased intention" which "resulted in failure of the present case".
Case 2: In another case, State vs Krishan Gopal and others, registered under the Arms Act and for preparing for dacoity, ASI Parkash Chand differed about the date of testing of weapons in the court from his earlier recorded statement. He also said that the weapons, when they came for testing, were not sealed, which led to acquittal of all accused on March 25, 2011.
Case 3: In State vs Baljeet case, registered on charge of dacoity and wrongful confinement, the court, in its judgment on January 22, 2011, remarked, "This appears to be a case where alleged recovery has been planted upon the accused." In this case, no inventory was prepared during recovery and no witnesses associated with the recovery. There were also discrepancies in the statement of police officials who were witnesses to the recovery memo.
Case 4: The State vs Davinder Kumar case fell in the court on March 31, 2011, because the investigating officer did not take any record from the mobile operators concerned regarding the outgoing and incoming calls. It was registered under the NDPS Act and on charge of cheating.
Injury to cops
Case 5: In State vs Samir Puri case, for which judgment was delivered on April 30, 2011, the police officials who were injured could not identify the driver and other occupants of the car.
Case 6: In a similar case, State vs Vikramjit Singh, which resulted in acquittals on May 3, 2011, where head constable Pawan Kumar and inspector Surinder Singh were injured, differed in their statements before the court about the occurrence of the accident.
Cases where DA has given opinion for appeal
There are eight cases lost by Panchkula police in courts for which the DA has opined for appeal. This includes a case of bank robbery on May 15, 2009, at State Bank of Patiala branch in Sector 15, in which accused Harinder Singh was discharged since recovery of Rs 1 lakh was shown to be made from a house on August 23, 2009, which had been in sealed condition since August 3, 2009.The high court termed the recovery made by inspector Karambir "illegal" and thus "vitiated the evidence". Finally, an appeal was not filed in the case.
In the Amritsar girl Simran Kundra murder case, which was decided on April 2, 2012, DA's opinion admitted faulty investigation but opined that its benefit should not go to the accused. In this case, the judge while acquitting accused Tanmay Arora pointed out that investigation officer inspector Aman Kumar, sub-inspector Sham Lal and scene of crime team differed in reporting the time the accused was taken to the scene of crime. In this case, the judge also hinted that call details of complainant were not procured, which was the duty of the investigating officer.