Finding no merit in an appeal filed by the Haryana Police challenging acquittal of Ashok Sheoran,former chief of Special Task force (STF),by a Panipat Court in an extortion case,the Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the appeal.
Upholding the acquittal of Sheoran and his associates in the extortion case,a division bench of the high court dismissed Haryana Polices appeal last Monday. In November 2012,a Panipat court had acquitted 10 people,including eight members of a now-disbanded Special Task Force headed by additional superintendent of police (ASP) Ashok Sheoran,who were earlier booked on extortion charges.
The Additional District and Sessions Court of Panipat had acquitted Sheoran,assistant sub-inspector Vijay Pal,head constables Jagbir,Raj Kapoor and Ishwar Singh,and constables Vinod Kumar,Dharam Singh and Mahinder Singh. Two others including Satish Verma of Panipat and Raj Kumari of Dadri were also acquitted despite the fact that a CCTV footage showed head constable Jagbir extorting money from a Panipat-based jeweller Vishambhar Malhotra and Rs 6 lakh from a share broker Rajat Aggarwal. Malhotra,died under mysterious circumstances,merely two months after the STF members were arrested.
The case against the STF men was registered on March 11,2010. A 745-page chargesheet that the police had filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM),Panipat,on June 11,the same year,had mentioned that the accused were charged under Section 395 (dacoity),397 (robbery with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt),398 (attempt to commit robbery or dacoity when armed with deadly weapon) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Defence counsel Ajay Ghanghas had alleged that the Panipat district police had falsely framed Sheoran and his team. He had contended Sheoran and his team had busted an oil mafia active in Panipat,which later colluded with the district police force and got Sheoran and his team members implicated in a false case.
Aggrieved at the lower court judgment,the Haryana Police moved the High Court. The appeal came up for hearing before a division bench which failed to find merit in the contentions raised by Haryana Police.