While acquitting five men booked for allegedly possessing counterfeit currency, a special court said last week action should be taken against a policeman who turned hostile during the trial. The policeman, a head constable, had not supported the prosecution while deposing as a witness. “Though the prosecution has not availed any opportunity to cross-examine him, but in these circumstances it is necessary that some action is required to be taken against him. Therefore, concerned authority shall take note of it and take proper action,” said additional sessions judge S M Bhosle in his order.
The court also said the investigation conducted by the police was “not proper and in scientific manner”.
In 2016, the Antop Hill police had booked five men, including a West Bengal resident, under sections pertaining to counterfeit currency. The men were in custody for at least three years till their acquittal last week.
The prosecution had claimed that on April 21, 2016, the senior inspector of Antop Hill police station had received secret information that a transfer/circulation of fake notes was to take place within his jurisdiction. A trap was arranged and two of the accused — Mohammed Ahmed Siddiqui and Ramswarup Patel — were apprehended. At least 20 counterfeit notes of Rs 1,000 denomination were allegedly recovered from them.
The police said they also went to Patel’s home and found 68 Rs 500 counterfeit notes and 26 Rs 1,000 ones. After interrogation, police arrested three more men, including one who allegedly had a printer, blank paper and other material. The police said they recovered a total of 160 counterfeit notes from the three.
During the trial, the court found discrepancies in the investigation, including a lack of proper procedure during recovery of notes from the accused, making them unreliable and without evidentiary value. The court also held that the evidence of the policemen who deposed was “contrary” to each other. The head constable, who turned hostile, claimed to be the carrier who took the sealed articles — counterfeit notes — to Nashik printing press for verification. The policeman had said the articles were not seized in front of him from the accused. The court, therefore, directed action against him.