THE DEPUTY Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Punjab Police, Raka Ghira, who had been sentenced to one-year imprisonment by the trial court in 2017 under the Arms Act, was acquitted of the charges in an appeal from the District and Sessions Court on Thursday.
Raka Ghira, 56, was acquitted under sections 25-54-59 of the Arms Act, by the Court of Balbir Singh, District and Sessions Court of Chandigarh.
Ghira, who was booked in 2011 in the Arms Act case, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine by the court of Hirdejeet Singh, JMIC (Judicial Magistrate First Class) in February 2017. After she was granted bail by the court since the sentence was less than three years, she filed an appeal against the order of the trial court at the Sessions Court in March 2017.
Appealing against the trial court sentence order, defence counsel, advocate S P S Bhullar, argued that the appellant (Raka Ghira) had a valid licence for both the weapons recovered. The prosecution, however, argued that the licence of Ghira for the weapons seized was valid in Punjab only, and not in Chandigarh, when ammunition was seized, the weapons were in Chandigarh.
The defence counsel argued that at the time of raid, and at the time of search of the house of appellant, she was never present at the house, and in the present case, the appellant was transferred from DSP City 1, Mohali, where she was posted till July 15, 2011, and her posting orders were awaited when a trap was laid by the CBI on July 24, 2011.
Advocate Bhullar also argued that there was no proof of cartridges being live and the FSL report should have been sought in order to ascertain the actual state of the ammunition. The police neither sealed the case property at the spot nor joined any independent witness in the case. During the raid of the house, the spot was videographed by a Sub-Inspector of CBI. However, the video was never made part of the chargesheet and not even produced in the court.
The defence also argued that as per the prosecution, the storeroom from where the recovery was made was attached to the bedroom number 2 of the house. However, the IO of the case testified in the court that storeroom from where recovery was made was attached to bedroom number 1, which is shown in the site plan as well.
After hearing the arguments and facts of the case, the Sessions Court set aside the order of JMIC Court, which sentenced Ghira to one-year imprisonment, and acquitted her.
The DSP was booked by the UT Police on July 24, 2011, after the CBI conducted a raid at her palatial house in Sector 15, Chandigarh, and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition, including AK 47. When questioned, Ghira failed to produce the relevant licences of the arms and ammunition. The CBI had recovered a .32 revolver made in Germany, .32 bore live cartridges, .32 bore empty cartridges (22), .32 cartridge (14), .22 bore live cartridge (18), .38 bore live cartridge (114), AK 47 live cartridge (67), 7.62 SLR live cartridges (831).
The CBI registered a case against Ghira on charges of demanding and accepting bribe and booked her under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. The search yielded around Rs 1.2 crore, stashed in various boxes in different parts of the house and jewellery worth lakh. Also, the CBI found fixed deposits worth Rs 75 lakh and other expensive artifacts. The corruption case against Ghira is still pending in the special court of CBI in Chandigarh, while a case under the Excise Act was also registered against her after 52 bottles of liquor were recovered from her Sector 15 residence during the CBI raid but the FIR under the Excise Act had been quashed by the High Court. Gira was inducted by the Punjab Police as an inspector on compassionate grounds after her husband Ranbir Singh, who was a DSP, died in a road accident in 1999.