August 5, 2021 1:15:47 am
Eighteen years after an alleged incident of road rage in Mumbai, a taxi driver was acquitted by a sessions court earlier this week. The driver, Gurmitsingh Harjap, who was 40 at the time of the incident in 2003, was cleared of all charges.
According to the prosecution, on April 19, 2003, a state transport (ST) driver had claimed that Harjap, along with another man, had assaulted him over overtaking the taxi. The ST driver claimed that the men had climbed to the driver’s seat, pulled his collar and assaulted him.
The incident was witnessed by a policeman nearby, who took the men to the police station and a complaint was filed. Six witnesses, including the conductor, a passenger, the policeman and the ST driver, had deposed before the court.
Some witnesses named Harjap but said that they could not identify him as 17 years had passed since the incident. Noting that there were discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses regarding the spot of the incident, the court said that this made it impossible rely on their testimonies.
“The main witness (ST driver) himself has not supported prosecution regarding the spot of incident and has changed it. It is a basic principle that in case of doubt, benefit has to be extended in favour of the accused,” the court said.
Harjap was acquitted of charges, including assaulting or using criminal force against a public servant on duty, under the Indian Penal Code. The accused named along with Harjap had gone missing during the trial. A separated case has been filed against him.
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