August 26, 2021 5:55:33 am
NINE people accused of criminal conspiracy, dacoity and one of receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity were convicted and sentenced to seven years and five years of rigorous imprisonment respectively by a Panchkula court Tuesday.
Pronouncing the order, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Hukam Singh observed, “The facts and circumstances of the present case and the manner in which dacoity was committed in broad daylight shows the depravity of convicts.”
While the nine accused — Surender Pal Singh, Ranpreet Singh, Parminder Singh, Manpreet Singh, Joginder Singh, Harvinder alias Bikkar, Gurjant alias Jenta, Narendar Singh as well as Butta Gir — were convicted under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 397 (dacoity) of the IPC for seven years, accused Harjeet Singh alias Jeetu was convicted for five years under section 412 (receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC.
The sentences for nine accused will run concurrently and time period already undergone while in police custody will be set off.
It was on July 13 in 2014 when a daylight dacoity at Rajat Jewellers, Swastik Vihar, MDC, Sector 5, Panchkula, had rocked the city.
The owner of the shop, Ashi Khanna, in his statement to the police had alleged that about 3.30 pm, a young boy had entered his shop. Wearing a helmet and gloves, the boy held him at gunpoint, thrashed him with fellow accused and tied him down in the basement. The other accused carried other deadly weapons, including meat choppers and pistols. The dacoits had, as per the owner, made away with gold, silver and diamond jewellery worth Rs 1.53 crore.
The first information report was registered for the commission of offence punishable under sections 395, 397, 384, 412, 201, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act.
While pronouncing the judgement which declared the accused guilty, the court had noted that even though there are no actual eyewitnesses as the accused wore masks and helmets, the contention of learned defence counsel that case is not reliable as eyewitnesses have not identified the accused, is “meritless”.
“It is settled proposition of law that prosecution can prove its case by leading direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. In the present case, prosecution has relied upon the following circumstantial evidence,” the court had observed on August 20.
The court relied on several disclosure statements made by accused themselves which led to huge recoveries in the case, including part of the looted jewellery, car and pistols.
“A huge quantity of jewellery was recovered from the possession of the accused. Onus was also upon them to explain as to how they came in possession of such huge quantity of jewellery. In the present case, absolutely no explanation came from the side of the accused with regard to jewellery got recovered by them. They simply stated that they were falsely implicated in the present case,” the court observed.
Further, even though no independent witness was joined by the investigating officer at the time when recoveries got effected by the accused in pursuance of their disclosure statements, the court, terming it a “technical flaw in the investigation,” said, “…but recoveries effected cannot be disbelieved merely on the ground that no independent witness joined at the time of said recoveries.”
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