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Schoolteacher still an accused in case

The Crime Branch states it has no evidence to nail Khurana for soliciting clients under Section 5 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, report Ravi Bajpai and Abhishek Bhalla.
Hindustan Times | By Ravi Bajpai and Abhishek Bhalla, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 31, 2007 03:46 AM IST

Once stung, twice shy seems to be the case with the Delhi Police, who have admitted they do not have sufficient evidence against government schoolteacher Uma Khurana framed in a fake TV sting operation.

Yet, they are still maintaining her status as an accused in the case.

In its final report (chargesheet) submitted before a city court on Tuesday, the Crime Branch has stated it has no evidence to nail Khurana for soliciting clients under Section 5 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act. Khurana’s name figures in Column 2 of the report, which effectively means she is still an accused, but will not be put on trial.

Sources say police could have requested the court to discharge Khurana from the case but are treading cautiously in view of their past “mistakes”.

“Initially, police had enough prima facie evidence (the sting tape) to register a case against Khurana, but not enough proof to arrest her. If they had conducted a primary investigation before arresting her, it would have cleared things and, by now, she could have been discharged of all the allegations,” said a senior police officer.

The embarrassment faced by the police at that time is reflected in Tuesday’s report. By not requesting for Uma’s discharge from the case, police are guarding themselves against any further surprises. “What if the other accused or someone else suddenly comes up with evidence during the course of the trial. We do not want to take the liability of asking for her discharge then,” said the officer.

Even though the police stop short of calling it a clean chit it effectively means they are not pressing for any charges against her. “We have left it for the court to decide if allegations against her can be dropped. It has been made clear that if there is no evidence against her she will be discharged,” said a crime officer.

But what is Khurana’s fate now. The court, while granting her bail earlier, had observed that she is more of a victim than an offender. The police say she will be treated as an accused till the court frames charges against her. “Technically, she will be discharged only after the trial has concluded. But at the time of framing of charges if the court wants they can discharge her,” the officer added.

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