The lack of scientific evidence and independent witnesses coupled with ‘star witnesses’ turning hostile led to the acquittal of the 10 people accused in the Tanishq robbery case. The prosecution had heavily relied on showroom guards Swaran Singh and Dina Nath — the star witnesses.
While Swaran Singh did not support the prosecution version and retracted from his previous statement given to police, Dina Nath was not put on the stand.
There are also many unanswered questions. CCTV footage and finger prints collected from showroom failed to aid the prosecution. The finger prints did not match those of accused Paras and Manav. This could have nailed the accused.
As per the prosecution, on January 16, 2011, a Chandigarh Police team went to Vasant Vihar in New Delhi as an accused, Bhoora Qureshi, was apprehended there. He was allegedly identified by Swaran Singh, who later denied having gone to Delhi or having identified any such person.
Police claimed that on the same day, they were tipped off that five people — Bhura Tomar, Ajay, Anuj, Upinder and Sonu — who were allegedly involved in the robbery, were planning to commit another dacoity. Police then conducted a raid and arrested the accused.
The local court, however, observed that they had involved any independent witnesses. “It is worth pointing out at the very outset that the raid was conducted on the secret information, but no independent witness was joined in the raiding party despite availability. The case of the prosecution solely rests on the official witnesses. No doubt, the statements of the officials cannot be discarded because of their official status and they are as good witness as any other person, but at the same time this fact cannot be lost sight that the police personnels generally take certain steps for the success of their case. Therefore, as a matter of caution, the statements of the police officials are to be scrutinised more minutely,” the court ruled.
The prosecution could not also prove the case of Arms Act against the accused. They could not prove that the weapons allegedly seized from the accused were in working condition and it didn’t help that there were no independent witnesses to corroborate the police version.
“Merely stating that the pistols were in working condition is not sufficient to bring the said pistols within the definition of fire arms,” the court further observed, before adding: “Apart from the complainant, no other private witness was associated despite having prior information during the arrest and recovery of the arms from the accused Bhura Tomar, Sonu Raghav and Ajay.”
The case hit the headlines in January 2011, when 12 men in police uniform barged into a Tanishq showroom in Manimajra around 3 am. They allegedly poisoned a guard and looted the entire shop at gunpoint within 15 minutes.