Signed testimonies of three witnesses which led to arrests, and a 13-year jail term for at least one of the accused, in three separate narcotics cases filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have been questioned by forensics who believe that the three statements were “all written by one and the same person”.
The DRI’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances cases date back to 2001, 2009 and 2010. In the 2001 case, two men were sentenced to 13 and 10 years in jail while three others are under trial for their alleged roles in the 2009 and 2010 cases. In each case, the DRI attached a handwritten and signed statement of the witness as “corroborative evidence”.
But now a report by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Rohini, Delhi raises serious questions about the three witnesses named by the DRI.
The FSL report dated July 28, which has been submitted in the Saket court of Special Judge M K Nagpal, states that the statements of the three “independent witnesses” confirming the arrest and seizure was written by “one and the same person”.
The DRI had claimed that in each case, an independent witness was picked up from the road near the DRI office in IP Estate and asked to be an eyewitness to the arrest.
The FSL, however, had a different view. “The aforesaid similarities in the writing habits are significant and sufficient and cannot be attributed to accidental coincidence and when considered collectively they lead me to the opinion that the red enclosed Hindi writings signatures… were all written by one and the same person,” stated the report prepared by Dr Jiju P V, Senior Scientific Officer (Documents), Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi.
Last Wednesday, The Indian Express mailed a detailed questionnaire to the DRI director general, seeking a response to the FSL findings. Responding to the email, an additional director of the DRI called to say: “The matter is sub judice. We do not know which way the court will decide. We cannot comment at the moment.”
According to DRI documents submitted in court, the three witnesses are:
* Ashok Kumar (27), resident of D-212, Lalita Park, Laxmi Nagar in Delhi. He was witness to the arrest of Vimal Behl and one another, allegedly caught with 17 kg of heroin on April 17, 2001;
* Ashok Kumar (33) of C-56A, Mandwali Fazalpur in Delhi. He was witness to the arrest of Nigerian Sampson Chukwudi, allegedly caught with 33 kg of heroin on March 30, 2009;
* Raju (35) of C-56A, Mandwali Fazalpur in Delhi. He was witness to the arrest of Kenyan Samson Ongera Omoro, allegedly caught with 10.2 kg of heroin on July 29, 2010.
The three witnesses never appeared in court and their statements were attached as corroborative evidence.
In their statements, witnesses Ashok Kumar of continued…