Two alleged women bootleggers, arrested with a huge quantity of hooch, have been let off by a Delhi court after the police could produce only empty cans.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen freed Madipur residents Seema and Sarita, allegedly caught with illicit liquor in 2005 and 2003, respectively, as the police failed to explain the disappearance of liquor from the cans seized from them.
"To my mind, chances of fabrication with case property cannot be ruled out, in as much as, complainant (investigating officer) is invariably interested in the conviction of the accused. The case property, i.e. illicit liquor allegedly recovered from the accused at relevant time, was never produced in the court as the container allegedly being carried by the accused was found to be empty as revealed from the records on the judicial file.”
"The police have failed to give any plausible explanation for the loss of illicit liquor and accordingly accused must be granted benefit," the court said.
The police said Sarita was arrested with a can containing 20 bottles of illicit liquor in November 2003 from Punjabi Bagh area. Seema was arrested in another case in June 2005 with a canister having over 14 bottles of hooch.
They were later granted bail.
The magistrate noted that the police said they had seized a huge amount of liquor from the two women but when the cans were produced in the court, they were found to be empty.
"In view of the aforesaid, I am of the opinion that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubts and the benefit of doubt must necessarily go to the accused. Accused are accordingly acquitted for the charges under the Excise Act levelled against them," the court said.