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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

After 45 years, Mumbai court acquits man in assault case

The Mumbai police now have the task of submitting a fresh chargesheet against the main accused.

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2018 14:49 IST
Farhan Shaikh
Farhan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
The case first went to trial in 1973.
The case first went to trial in 1973.(HT Photo)

In one of the longest running trials in India, a Mumbai metropolitan court took 45 years to complete a trial against one of the two accused in an assault case. The trial in the crime started in 1973, but the prosecution examined only one witness and still failed to bring in enough evidence. With the original case papers missing and even the chargesheet in tattered condition, the accused was finally acquitted last week.

Longest trials
  • 40 Years Lalit Narayan Mishra assassination trial: Lalit Narayan Mishra, who was the railway minister Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet in 1975, was inaugurating a broad-gauge line in Samastipur, Bihar when a grenade was thrown at him. Mishra succumbed to injuries the next day. Two others were also killed in the blast. The CBI took over the investigation and the trial went on for nearly 40 years before it was transferred to a Delhi court for fear of destruction of evidence. Four persons including advocate Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji were convicted for murder in December 2014. At the time of the verdict, Sudevandanda was already in jail for attempting to kill the former Chief Justice of India AN Ray near the Supreme Court in 1975.
  • 22 years: 1993 Mumbai blasts trial: Twelve blasts ripped through the city in March 1993, claiming 257 lives and injuring 713 people. In June 2017, a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) Act court in Mumbai convicted six accused including Abu Salem. The trial in the case began in 1995. In 2016, Judge GA Sanap ordered both prosecution and defence to complete their arguments by year end as the case was already expedited by the Supreme Court. The trial still continues with Rafiq Takla being the latest to be brought to India from Dubai

But the story is far from over. The court has now ordered the police to file a fresh chargesheet against the main accused in the case.

It all started on January 30, 1973. Taxi driver Ghachi Allahrakha was sitting in his parked vehicle in Pydhonie on a pleasant afternoon when a truck carrying a footwear consignment was trying to enter a factory compound on the busy street. Allahrakha’s cab was blocking the entrance. The truck driver, Jamil-ul-Rehman approached Allahrakha and asked him to move his vehicle.

Allahrakha would not budge and got into an argument with Rehman. The fight escalated when he pulled the driver by his collar and they got into a verbal spat. An angry Allahrakha drove away but threatened revenge. He returned later on the same day with an accomplice, Abdul Sattar Kasam as well as an iron rod.

A brawl ensued between the duo and a group of men standing by Rehman’s truck, which included the latter’s uncle, Jafar Hasan and a man named Rais Ahmed (both were injured in the fight).

The police soon arrived at the scene and both Allarakha and Kasam fled from the spot. They were soon arrested and booked for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons. The trial court framed the charges in April, 1973.

Due to Allahrakha’s absence, the trial court separated his case and continued with Kasam’s.

Last week, a metropolitan court held that the testimony of the medical officer — the sole prosecution witness — showed that he did not medically examine the injured witness. He did not have the original medical papers with him, the court noted.

The additional chief metropolitan magistrate observed, “Apart from the above evidence, there are no original documents available including the complaint, spot panchnama (record of observation) and the medical certificate. Even the original chargesheet is half-torn. No evidence was shown in the recovery.”

The crime that Allahrakha and Kasam were charged with carries a maximum punishment for one year.

The Mumbai police now have the task of submitting a fresh chargesheet against the taxi driver, Ghachi Allahrakha, 45 years after he committed his crime.

First Published: May 28, 2018 14:48 IST

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