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Mumbai: Undertrial acquitted of charges of assaulting jail staff

The court held that the investigating officer had only recorded the statements of police witnesses after a delay of eight days, casting doubt over whether the assault took place.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
April 21, 2021 2:30:09 am
The case relates to Kaushal Zha, an undertrial lodged in Kalyan jail, booked on charges of assault after a complaint was filed by a jailor.

A SESSIONS court in a recent order acquitted a 25-year old undertrial, booked on charges of assault and abuse of jail staffers, in Kalyan jail. The court held that the investigating officer had only recorded the statements of police witnesses after a delay of eight days, casting doubt over whether the assault took place.

“When accused was talking to inmates passing by there were other independent witnesses who could have corroborated the case of prosecution. However, the Investigating Officer has conveniently listed and examined police witnesses though independent witnesses are available,” the court said.

The case relates to Kaushal Zha, an undertrial lodged in Kalyan jail, booked on charges of assault after a complaint was filed by a jailor. The complaint said Zha had come to the gate of the circle he was lodged in and abused officials and made comments to other inmates passing by.

While Zha said he was at the gate seeking to be produced before the court via video-conference, the officials said he had held the collar and caused injuries to one of the staffers. Zha claimed that he was falsely implicated as the jail officials apprehended that he would complain against them before the court.

Zha also said he himself was admitted to the jail hospital after the incident but the medical record of that day was not submitted before the court.

The court agreed with this contention and said this shows that “prosecution is trying to put curtain on wrong deeds committed by them”.

“This fact (non-submission of medical papers of the day of the incident) leads to infer that accused was admitted in the jail hospital and was given treatment. In such circumstances, the defence of the accused seems probable,” the court said.

It added that there were discrepancies in the statements of the jail staff and the seizure of the clothes and the medical evidence showed that the injuries as mentioned in the complaint were not sustained by the jail staff.

The court also said the investigating officer had not seized the register maintained in the jail where a record of inmates’ misconduct is made. It also referred to the delay in recording of the statements.

“…the investigating officer should have recorded the statement of the witnesses at the earliest. The reason given by the Investigating Officer that the witnesses were on duty is no ground as he could have sought permission from their superior to record their evidence. Instead of doing so he has recorded the statement of the witnesses after eight days of the incident. There is unjustified undue delay on the part of Investigating Officer in recording the statement of the witnesses which casts doubt on the case of the prosecution,” the court said.

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