In a rare case of police personnel fined for making false charges of offence against an accused, an inspector and an assistant sub-inspector of the UT Police were recently hauled up and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh each.
While acquitting the accused from theft charges, possession of stolen property and trespassing in order to commit a punishable offence of the Indian Penal Code, the court of civil judge, junior division Jaswinder Singh had directed the UT Administration to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the accused and giving liberty to retrieve the amount from the salaries of the two officers.
The court observed that “prima facie the offences under Sections 166 (Public servant disobeying law) and 211 (false charge of offence made intentionally) of IPC are made out” against the investigating officer, ASI Gurdit Singh and then SHO of Sector 11 police stations, inspector Gurmukh Singh. The case dates back to February 8, 2012, when storekeeper of Chandigarh College of Architecture, Ramesh Chander Pal, was arrested while he was allegedly trying to transport seven chairs stolen from the college. While police claimed that these were heritage chairs, the principal testified that these were old broken chairs which he had authoritied Ramesh to take for repairs.
The judgment reads, “Keeping in view the fact that the accused faced a lot of humiliation for more than two years, UT Administration is directed to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh to him, which shall be deposited within a period on one month from today and the same shall be released in favour of the accused.” Ramesh was caught at a naka near gate number 1 of Panjab University. He was nabbed while he was taking the broken chairs to his residence in Dadumajra. The then CCA Principal Pardeep Bhagat had lodged a complaint with the police regarding the missing chairs a day before Ramesh’s arrest.
According to the judgment, the complainant, Pardeep Bhagat, in his statements to the court held that he was never asked to verify the chairs which were recovered by the police. Also, he was not consulted before the arrest. The judgment reads, “IO (ASI Gurdit) did not make any effort to trace the real culprit and to recommend filing of cancellation report against the arrested accused.” The heritage chairs were also never found. Each chair was worth close to Rs 25 lakh in international market.
It adds, “The then SHO PS-11 is equally responsible for the harassment suffered by the accused because he issued challan against the accused without having any evidence against him.”
The complainaint, Pardeep Bhagat told the court, “The chairs produced in the court today belong to the boys hostel and the rehri belongs to the mess of our college. I had also got the matter inquired at the departmental level by forming a committee in which the accused, Ramesh Chander, was found innocent. He has been given promotion as Junior Assistant w.e.f. 1.5.2013. The chairs were being shifted on my order.”
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