In 2016, a three-member team from the Delhi Police claimed to have arrested a man with 37 kg of marijuana after they managed to “smell” a packet of the drug he had on him. A Delhi court has now acquitted the man, after it was found that the raiding team was never at the spot.
The court said that it “cannot shut its eye to the incarceration of an innocent person in jail on false and frivolous accusations, and also cannot be spectator to injustice being perpetrated at the hands of unscrupulous police officials”.
The court directed the DCP concerned to hold an enquiry in light of observations made in this judgment, fix responsibility of erring police official(s) and file an action taken report within six months. Police are yet to begin the enquiry, it is learnt.
The court observed: “The accused in present case has spent almost three years of his life in jail for no rhyme or reason. It is a glaring example where unscrupulous police officials, while discharging their duties, abused their power as well as position… The members of raiding team curtailed the liberty of an innocent citizen for reasons best known to them.”
A Delhi Police team comprising ASI Devi Ram, head constable Sardar Singh and constable Sunil from Nand Nagri had arrested New Seemapuri resident Farooq in 2016. The prosecution claimed that Farooq did not use his legal right of calling a gazetted officer or a magistrate before the search, and was illiterate and could only sign. After claiming to have recovered marijuana, police told the court that they stopped a truck, attached the wires of their electronic weighing machine to the vehicle’s battery to kickstart the device, and weighed the seized marijuana.
Farooq, in his statement to the court, said senior officers from the police station wanted to make him an informer, and when he refused, they implicated him in the case under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act.
The court did not buy the prosecution’s story of using the electronic weighing machine after it did not find any daily diary entry corroborating the same.
When the counsel for the accused, U A Khan, told the court that members of the raiding team were not present at the spot at the time of his arrest, the court perused call detail records to find that the raiding team members were, in fact, never present. Members of the raiding team did not contest this before the court.
Additional Sessions Judge Manjusha Wadhwa said, “This court would be failing in its duty if it does not express its anguish against the exercise of power by the members of raiding team…The aforesaid factors, including changing tower location of mobile phone used by the members of raiding team during the investigation process, shakes the conscience of the court.”