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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Scientific methods of investigation must substitute old methods of inquiry, says HC

The HC made this observation while rapping the Haryana Police for filing chargesheets in a forgery case on the basis of defective/incomplete investigation.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
March 16, 2021 9:09:37 am
Punjab and Haryana High Court, canada nri trial, video conferencing, domestic violence, Amritpal Singh Bains, JMIC Court of Mohali, chandigarh news, chandigarh latest news, india news, indian expressPunjab and Haryana High Court. (File Photo)

The scientific methods of investigation must substitute old methods of ending investigation with disclosure statements of accused and efforts should be made to enlist and collect the material evidence regarding the crime available from all possible sources, observed the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently.

The HC made this observation while rapping the Haryana Police for filing chargesheets in a forgery case on the basis of defective/incomplete investigation.

Hearing the bail plea of an accused, Pawan Bhoria, the Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi remarked, “The practice of filing chargesheets by simply mentioning that there is sufficient incriminating evidence for filing of the same must also be discarded by adopting the practice of making detailed reference to material facts and circumstances ascertained by investigation and substantive evidence collected in support/proof of the same. Training/refresher courses for the police officers/officials must also have requisite course content in this regard.”

Bhoria is accused of running a racket along with his accomplices, doctors and police officials by getting cancer patients insured from the insurance companies and then claiming compensation showing their death due to road accidents. He has been granted bail in two out of six FIRs registered against him by the Haryana Police. He has approached the HC for bail in the remaining four FIRs.

Bhoria’s counsel, Senior Advocate R S Cheema and advocate Arshdeep Singh Cheema, contended that he has been falsely arraigned as accused in the present cases. Disclosure statement of the petitioner was allegedly recorded first in FIR number 144 dated April 19, 2019. In that FIR, he was granted regular bail on July 20, 2020, by the HC. The petitioner has been thereafter falsely implicated in cases one after the other to stall his release on bail. During investigation of the present cases, an attempt was made to foist disclosure statements on the petitioner but he refused to sign. Then Section 180 of the IPC was added in two cases. Chargesheets have been filed against the petitioner on the basis of alleged disclosure statements. There is no mention in the chargesheets and no iota of evidence to remotely hint that the victims were suffering from cancer and died due to cancer and not by road accidents.

Apart from the disclosure statements, there is no incriminating evidence against the petitioner. Since trial is likely to take a long time due to restrictions imposed to prevent spread of infection of Covid-19, no useful purpose will be served by further detention of the custody, argued Bhoria’s counsel.

Opposing the bail plea, the state counsel contended that during investigation, the petitioner submitted disclosure statements and admitted his guilt. Merely on the basis of longevity of incarceration, the petitioner is not entitled to the concession of bail.

After hearing the arguments, the Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi said, “In the course of hearing of the petitions, detailed references have been made to the FIRs registered, investigation made and the chargesheets filed in the present cases which appear to be glaring examples of presentation of chargesheets on the basis of defective/incomplete investigation. In two cases — FIR number 155 dated December 13, 2019 and FIR number 82 dated March 24, 2018 — chargesheets have been filed against Pawan Bhoria (the petitioner) and co-accused Dr Gaurav Sharma primarily on the basis of alleged unsigned disclosure statement of Pawan Bhoria (the petitioner) and disclosure statement of co-accused Dr Gaurav Sharma and in one case — FIR number 76 dated March 3, 2020 — chargesheet has been filed against Pawan Bhoria (the petitioner) primarily on the basis of his disclosure statement.”

Justice Tyagi noted, “It appears that in the present cases there was no proper supervision by the concerned superior police officers of the investigation and no proper scrutiny of the chargesheets by the concerned public prosecutors before filing of the chargesheets on the basis of defective/incomplete investigation without discovery and collection of the entire evidence available with respect to material aspects of the cases.”

Justice Tyagi thus ordered the Haryana DGP and the Director of Prosecution, Haryana, to look into the chargesheets filed in the present cases and file their affidavits with respect to the deficiencies observed in the investigation and the chargesheets filed and also regarding remedial steps proposed to be taken on detailed examination of the matter by the committee already constituted at the state level or constituting any other appropriate committee.

Adjourning the matter for April 1, 2021, the Bench granted Bhoria interim regular bail in all the four cases till next date on furnishing personal and surety bonds.

 

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