Can’t reach Parel from Juhu in 20 mins, says court while letting off 2 in arms case

May 26, 2023 12:53 AM IST

A Mumbai sessions court has acquitted two men accused of selling firearms illegally outside Ganesh Talkies in 2005, raising questions about the police's claim to have reached the scene in 20 minutes after receiving information. The court said that it was impossible to travel from Juhu to Parel during the daytime in that time frame. The court also doubted that 13 police officials could travel in one Qualis jeep and questioned why they would do so. The two convicted men had been sentenced to two years' imprisonment and fined INR2,000 ($27) each.

Mumbai: Using common facts and basic knowledge, a sessions court on Thursday acquitted two men booked for allegedly attempting to sell firearms illegally outside Ganesh Talkies, Parel in 2005 and raised questions on the premise of this case where police officials claimed they reached Parel from Juhu in 20 minutes during the daytime after receiving information about the firearms sale.

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“It is common knowledge to the residents of Mumbai that the distance from Juhu to Lalbaug via road is approximately a minimum 10km. Usually, the roads between Juhu to Lalbaug, as also at that time in 2005, were busy with traffic. It is impossible to travel from Juhu to Parel during the daytime in 20 minutes,” the court observed, doubting the case.

In 2017, a 42-year-old businessman from Pydhonie Nadeem Sayyed and a 40-year-old resident of Dongri Guljar alias Danish Jariwala were held guilty by a magistrate court for dealing illegally in firearms.

They were sentenced to two years imprisonment with a fine of 2,000 each. The duo approached sessions court against the conviction.

As per the prosecution case, on October 17, 2005, police officials attached with ATS namely Tanaji Patil received information at around 3:40pm that the accused were to come to Ganesh Theatre to trade in firearms.

Patil immediately informed his seniors, noted it down in their diaries and a trap was arranged. According to the prosecution, the police team reached the spot at 4pm.

Besides, it was claimed that at about 5pm an officer spotted Sayyed near the bridge. Accordingly, an officer was sent to get material to seal the articles which were to be seized from the accused.

Meanwhile, another accused came there. The police said when they were talking, they surrounded them and recovered two revolvers and cartridges from them.

The session court disbelieved the very premise of this case.

“Receiving of the information, telling the information to PI Deshmukh, gathering of the police squad in the chamber of PI Deshmukh, giving instructions to the police party, making entry in the station diary, boarding in Qualis jeep and travelling to Lalbaug, are the sequence of events, which had taken place within a short span of 20 minutes. None of the prosecution evidence elucidated as to how all these events had taken place within 20 minutes,” the special court further said.

Besides, the prosecution claimed that after receiving the information, 13 officials travelled in one Qualis Jeep.

The court said the prosecution failed to bring a logbook of the vehicle and also questioned that “Doubt remains as to how 13 police officials boarded one Qualis vehicle and travelled in it. Considering the body and make of the Qualis vehicle, it is the fact of the common knowledge that, hardly 8 to 10 persons can be accommodated in one Qualis vehicle.”

“In this case, 13 police persons have travelled in one Qualis vehicle. There is no explanation as to how and why all the police persons have travelled in one Qualis vehicle and as to how they had adjusted themselves in the space available in the Qualis vehicle,” the court further said.

Thus, the court while acquitting the two observed that, “The depositions of the prosecution witnesses while considered as a whole depict an incongruent picture. There is no convincing evidence when tested against the entire probabilities and circumstances.”

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