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Court acquits man in illicit liquor case, says no public witness at spot

The court also questioned the ‘grave contradictions’ in the seizure document

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
September 27, 2014 2:01:53 am

A Delhi court has rapped police over its failure to produce even a single public witness in connection with a case of illicit liquor manufacture. The court also questioned the “contradictions” in police investigation into the case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Arvind Bansal acquitted Pal Singh, the accused in the case, of charges under sections of the Excise Act. He pulled up police after prosecution witnesses, all of whom were officers involved in the raid, stated during examination that “public persons” near the spot declined to joined proceedings despite being requested to do so.

Observing that the absence of a public witness in the case would be seen with “suspicion”, the court said, “The arrest and search before independent witnesses impart authenticity and creditworthiness to the proceedings carried out by police. It acts as a safeguard against arbitrary conduct, if any, of police. The absence of such a safeguard — in the form a public witness — is to be seen with suspicion.”

The court also pulled up police for not making any “sincere effort” to get a public witness. “Police did not make any sincere effort to join any person from the said place or to see whether any independent person was available at such a place to be joined in the proceedings,” the judge said.

The court also questioned the “grave contradictions” in the seizure document. “The seizure document bears an FIR number. It is an admitted case of prosecution that the said document was prepared by the IO before sending the constable for registration of an FIR. It raises doubt that the entire paper work may have been done by police at the station itself,” the court said. The court also raised doubts about police action since they failed to produce any raw material used in manufacturing the alleged illicit liquor.

The court also observed that there was a violation of “police rules” since police had failed to prove the presence of patrolling officers at the spot. “Despite being challenged on the said aspect, the prosecution failed to prove this fact on record. It is a statutory obligation upon police to enter their departure and arrival time in a daily register. Not adhering to it is a violation of Police Rules,” the judge said.

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