A woman caught red-handed while purchasing a high-end phone from a digital showroom using a duplicate card was recently acquitted as the police neither seized the card nor produced the certificate necessary to acquire the CCTV camera footage.
Ludhiana resident Gurpreet Sinh alias Ramandeep Dhingra, 28, was booked for purchasing two Apple iPhones from a chain of digital shops at Kapurbawdi using a duplicate card. According to the prosecution, on December 27, 2012, Sinh allegedly used a duplicate card belonging to Jaswant Sikarwar, a Ludhiyana resident, to purchase two phones.
The store manager registered a complaint with the Kapurbawdi Thane police station. Sinh was captured on the CCTV camera and her image was circulated everywhere as part of the investigation. A few days later, she was caught using same card in a shop at Oshiwara and was arrested. Sinh was booked for cheating, forgery and relevant sections of IT Act.
The police filed a charge sheet before the judicial magistrate first class, Thane, in February 2013. Three years later, the court has now acquitted Sinh owing to a lack of evidence against her.
Defence advocates Amrish Salunkhe and Ankita Sanap pointed out that the police had failed to seize the alleged duplicate card from Sinh. The agency also needed CCTV camera footage to prove the presence and identity of Sinh. “The police did not obtain the certificate required to seize the footage from the store. The certificate is mandatory under the IT Act. The person from whom the footage is seized needs a certificate to prove its authenticity. As there was no certificate, the evidence could not be used,” Salunkhe said.
“The investigating officer admitted point-blank that the alleged bogus credit card was not seized. Therefore, in the absence of such proof, mere oral evidence is not enough to sustain said charge of forgery and using forged documents for cheating. There is nothing on record to show that those documents or credit card were forged and not genuine,” observed magistrate Narayan G. Deshpande.
Salunkhe also pointed out that the prosecution did not examine Sikhawar, who suffered a loss as money was deducted from his account. “The card owner alone should have complained of cheating. He was the star witness. Examining Sikarwar and the bank officials would have thrown light on the transaction, however, such evidence is missing,” Deshpande observed.