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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

HC sets aside acquittal, orders retrial

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, July 22, 2014
First Published: 07:38 IST(22/7/2014) | Last Updated: 07:44 IST(22/7/2014)

Terming the police investigation faulty, the Punjab and Haryana high court has set aside the acquittal of Amritbir Singh, accused of murdering his father, mother, grandfather and a cousin, in the Nabha family murder case of 2010, and ordered retrial.

“We are of the firm view that this is an exceptional case where such a power (to order retrial) should be exercised to achieve ends of justice,” reads the order. The case hit the headlines in August 2010 when Amritbir, 24 at the time, informed the police that some people had murdered his father Iqbal Singh, mother Jaswinder Kaur, grandfather Hamir Singh and cousin Gurmanbir Kaur to loot the house. However, it was found that Amritbir had killed them.

Despite a seemingly watertight case — the police said the weapon of crime was recovered and Amritbir admitted to the crime — the police failed to prove the case in court. Key scientific evidences were not produced before the court to conceal facts by the investigation officer.

Thus, because of lack of corroborative evidences and mismatch in the statements of the investigating officer and witnesses, the court acquitted Amritbir on April 28, 2012.

However, as the media highlighted the acquittal, then DIG LK Yadav formed a special investigation team (SIT), which found that the IO was bribed, so he didn’t produce key evidences in court.

Apart from the state, Chamkaur Singh, brother of deceased Jaswinder Kaur, challenged the acquittal of his nephew in the court.

Delivering the judgment, a bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Kuldip Singh has allowed both petitions filed for retrial of the case.

“We are of the view that in the present case, the investigation was faulty. A criminal case has been registered against the IO for accepting huge bribe from the accused to favour him. Some of the material witnesses were not examined during investigation,” reads the judgment.

The high court has also directed the Punjab police that it should investigate the role of the investigation officer and other lapses due to which the accused got acquitted in serious cases.

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