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Booth capturing accused walk free

IN WHAT could be termed as the failure of the district administration, all accused in the booth capturing case that occurred in the Bombay Bazaar area during the Municipal election in November 2004 have been acquitted.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 14:13 IST

IN WHAT could be termed as the failure of the district administration, all accused in the booth capturing case that occurred in the Bombay Bazaar area during the Municipal election in November 2004 have been acquitted.

In a sensational incident on November 20, 2004, a large number of persons, many of them armed, entered the polling booth No 816 Ward No 49 at around 1.35 pm, at Marwari Dharmashala in the Bombay Bazaar area, tore some ballot papers and ran away with the ballot box. The ballot box was later found thrown near a nullah.

The police made out cases against 37 persons, and while 22 regularly appeared in court for hearing the remaining were absconding. The main accused in the case were Parvez alias Banti and Mohammad Ali.

The other accused were Sharev Baig, Shakeel Aka, Salim Baig, Altaf alias Tanu. Abbas Baig alias Baggi who was charged under Arms Act, was also acquitted.

Delivering his judgement here today, 3rd ADJ Pradeep Vyas acquitted all the 22 accused in this case. The prosecution failed to prove its case as all the prosecution witnesses turned hostile.

The three policemen who were on duty at the polling booth and were among the key witnesses also admitted during the cross examination that the entire episode occurred so fast that it was difficult for them to recognize the accused. What is more, the police had also failed to carry out proper identification parade in the case.

The case was significant since one of the candidates Ayaz Baig (who later won the election), was shot at and critically injured earlier on that day.