A magistrate court recently convicted a former ward boy of a south Mumbai private hospital for stealing medicines from the hospital and selling them outside. The court, however, took a lenient view while awarding a sentence to the accused, as the trial in the case went on for ten years.
The court observed, “The trial went on for a decade, a lenient view in awarding sentence of imprisonment is warranted.” The court sentenced the convict, Ashokkumar Dubey, for one year of rigorous imprisonment for stealing the medicines, along with three years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) for assisting in concealment of stolen property. The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 7000 on Dubey.
As per the case registered with Azad Maidan police station on July 3, 2004, a man named Manojkumar Mishra was caught taking a box out of the hospital by the watchman on July 3, 2004. When asked about the box, Mishra said he was taking it to the old building of the hospital. Suspicious, the watchman, Prakash Salvi, followed him and saw him going towards the taxi stand, and caught him red handed.
Mishra was acting on the instructions of the ward boy of the hospital, Dubey. After arresting Mishra, the police found 84 types of medicines in the boxes. The total value of the medicines was calculated as Rs 5000. The prosecution claimed that Dubey used to take the medicines out of the hospital during the night when other employees were sleeping, and hand them over to Mishra to sell it outside.
The chief pharmacist of Bombay Hospital, in his statement, had said that ‘there has been large scale theft of medicines from Bombay Hospital. In the year 2003-04, medicines worth Rs 9.57 lakhs were stolen, but the management did not report the matter to the police and tied to handle the problem by transferring the employees concerned.’
The court considered all the evidence along with the evidence of the staff members to prove that Dubey was working with Bombay Hospital and had access to the store room. However, Mishra was absconding during the trial. Hence, the trial against Dubey was separated and continued.
The court, after considering all the witnesses, convicted Dubey. Public prosecutor R. Y. Suryawanshi sought for maximum punishment while defence lawyer K. M. Barsagade prayed for his release on the bond of good behaviour under Probation of Offenders Act.
The court refused to grant him relief under Probation of Offenders Act.