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Fighting for a fight he never committed

A person fighting a legal battle for the last 23 years over an offence he never committed, reports Ramashankar.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 18:30 IST

At at a time when the Bihar police officials are patting themselves on the back for securing speedy trial of criminals, a man, having got a clean chit from the police, is waging a legal battle that has dragged on for over 23 years to prove his innocence.

Chandradeo Singh, a resident of Mahuli village under Ara Mufassil police station, has been making the rounds of the court for an offence he never committed. He is at his wit’s end where to go to seek justice.

Singh’s trauma began on July 20, 1983 when he, along with Kamla Singh of Mahuli village and Ramyash Singh of Nabgadha village, were made accused under sections 123, 112, 125, 12 (A) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

A team of the transport officials along with the district police had seized a bus (bearing registration number BRC-4490) from an area falling under the jurisdiction of Krishnagarh police station during special vehicle checking drive.

As the transport officials did not find any documents in the bus, they lodged a case (number 280/83) with the police station concerned against Kamla (driver), Ramyash and Chandradeo. The latter were shown as owners of the vehicle.  

While Kamla and Ramyash confessed their guilt and were released after payment of Rs 300 and Rs 75 as penalty respectively, Singh lodged a complaint with the court, saying that he was not the owner of the bus. The bus was registered in the name of Phulsundari Devi, Panchratan Kumar and Janakdeo Singh and he should be absolved of the charge, his petition said.

The court sought a detailed report from the district transport office and the police. The DTO’s report (vide letter no. 947 dated 15.11.03) corroborated the version of Chandradeo and said that the bus was registered on May 5, 1975 in the name of Phulsundari Devi, Panchratna Kumar and Janakdeo Singh.

It further submitted in its report that the bus was financed by Oswal Finance Company. The police also submitted the report in Singh’s favour.

Despite this clean chit, charge was framed against Chandradeo on January 22, 2004. However, no witness has turned up for deposition against him. Now, with the transfer of Satish Chandra, judicial magistrate of Bhojpur in whose court the case has been pending, Chandradeo's discharge will be further delayed.

Email ramaashankaar@indiatimes.com