NEARLY 13 years after five persons, including a six-year-old girl, died in a building collapse in Bandra, a metropolitan magistrate recently acquitted three persons booked for building the unauthorised structure, while rapping the police for a shoddy probe.
The court also pulled up the investigating officer for stating during his deposition that the three accused booked had no concern with the crime. It said this should be dealt with superiors of the police department.
“…It is pertinent to mention that prosecution seems not serious in conducting the prosecution and totally failed to prove the alleged offence beyond reasonable doubt. It failed to prove the cause of death of the deceased victims,” the court said. It added that the postmortem reports though filed on record were not marked in evidence, nor was the medical officer examined to prove injuries to the victims.
According to the prosecution, on July 9, 2006, a four-storey structure at A K Marg in Behrampada, Bandra (East), collapsed, causing injuries to 17 people and death of five. The accused, Mohammed Taufiq, Mohammed Rafiq and Faraz Mohammed, all residents of Bandra, were booked for building the structure without requisite permissions, leading to the collapse and subsequent deaths. The police booked them under sections including 304 A (causing death due to negligence), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC.
During the trial, the prosecution examined five witnesses, including residents of the building. The court held that two of the witnesses only deposed about the collapse, while two others did not bring on record any significant evidence as they had not witnessed the incident. “Even the investigating officer failed to depose anything about the actual incident and the investigation done by him. He did not depose anything as to his opinion about his investigation. On the contrary, during his cross-examination, he admitted that the accused persons have no concern with the alleged crime. This admission of the IO is in fact a serious issue to be dealt with superiors of police department,” the court said.
It added, “When the investigating officer had full knowledge that the accused persons are not responsible, on what basis he filed chargesheet is not made clear.” It said the prosecutor had also failed to reexamine the investigator on his submissions. It added that the facts showed that the accused and the victims were residing in structures erected in an unauthorised manner, but there was no evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.