THE JMIC (Judicial Magistrate First Class) court of Chandigarh has acquitted 10 people of stealing passports from the Passport Office in 2006 and then using them as genuine after the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against the accused.
The court of Gurkiran Singh, JMIC, acquitted the accused — Raj Kumar of Patiala, Neeru of Kapurthala, Bharat Ghai of Jalandhar, Amarjit Singh of Kapurthala, Upjit Singh of Mohali, Joginder Pal of New Delhi, Naval Kishore Verma of New Delhi, Ram Saroop Bhat of New Delhi, Sharam Singh of Kapurthala and Gian Kaur of Kapurthala — under sections 380 (theft in dwelling house etc), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 474 (document knowing it to be forged and intending to use it as genuine), 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court has declared three accused — Gurjinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh — as proclaimed offender. Bharat Ghai, 44, a travel firm owner from Jalandhar who had planned to open an aviation school in Rajasthan, had all his permissions cancelled when he was arrested by the Crime Branch of Chandigarh Police in a case of forgery and stealing passports from the Chandigarh Passport office. Reacting to the court ruling, Ghai said,
“The case has taken away most valuable time of life and given me stress, severe health problems and financial loss. After my arrest on June 21, I stayed in jail for 100 days and was released on bail on September 26, 2008, which was the worst time for me and my family.”
Another accused in the case, Raj Kumar, 45, who faced two trials, one at Amritsar and another at Chandigarh district court, said, “I had never seen a jail, but due to the incident, I remained in lock-up for one and a half months at Amritsar and then for the same period in Chandigarh.”
As per the prosecution, the case dates back to 2006. An FIR was registered on the complaint of A K Sapra, the then superintendent, Regional Passport Office, Sector 34, Chandigarh, on October 31, 2006. As per Sapra’s complaint, a bundle consisting of 49 printed passports along with relevant files was found missing from the office. Following the complaint, a case was registered by the Chandigarh Police, and on November 22, 2006, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch.