In as many as nine cases of alleged liquor and arms haul in the last one month, a Delhi court has quashed the police’s version and set the accused free. This has brought the Delhi police’s probe under the scanner, with the court observing that the “genuineness of the investigation is under doubt”.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Sharad Gupta of the North East district court has awarded six acquittals in cases of liquor haul, tried under the Delhi Excise Act, and three acquittals in the arms haul cases, tried under the Arms Act, in the last one month.
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While awarding the acquittals, the court observed that in the absence of any details about the patrolling time of police and absence of public witnesses, “false implication” of the accused cannot be ruled out, hence the benefit of doubt needs to be given to them.
Three of the alleged arms haul cases were under the jurisdiction of the New Usmanpur police station, five of the alleged liquor haul cases were under Khajuri Khas police station and one was under New Usmanpur police station.The court stated that in the alleged liquor haul cases, “facts and circumstances” suggest that “no sincere efforts have been made by the police” to have an independent witness during the raid and “this creates doubts about the case of prosecution.”
The same reason has been cited in all the alleged arms haul cases, in which the police didn’t have a single independent public witness either.
Citing the rules of Punjab police, which mandates that Daily Diary (DD) entries have to be made about the hours of arrival and departure of police personnel during such raids, the Delhi court has stated that in the nine cases, the police has not recorded any such detail and this further “creates doubt about the case of the prosecution”.
Here are some of the other loopholes in the police investigation
Case 1 : Kailash was accused of illegally possessing 24 bottles of illicit liquor of 750 ml without any permit or licence.
What the court said: Police officials have not been able to agree amongst themselves about the particulars and the manner in which the investigation was conducted and the same damages the veracity of the prosecution version.
Case 2 : Munna Kumar, accused of possessing 19 half bottles and one half bottle of ‘Shauken Brand Desi Sharab’
What the court said: In peculiar circumstances of the case, it has come out in the testimony of the police that out of total 19 half bottles, only one half bottle was taken out as sample and sent for examination in the Excise office. It is difficult to believe whether other half bottles really contained illicit liquor.
Case 3 : Amit, accused of illegal possession of one white plastic can containing illicit liquor without any permit or license
What the court said: It has been observed during the recording of evidence when the can of illicit liquor was produced in court it was nearly empty. This shows that case property was not produced in court in intact form and tampering of the same cannot be ruled out. Police officials have not been to agree amongst themselves about how they had gone to the spot.
Case 4: Mustak Ali, accused of illegally possessing 24 bottles of ‘desi sharab’ without any permit or licence
What the court said: Of the 23 bottles, only nine were full while seven were empty and the remaining were only partially full. This shows that the case property was not produced in court in the same condition in which it was seized..It cannot be said with certainty that the case property produced in court was the same as was recovered from the possession of the accused.