TAKING STRONG note of the shoddy investigation by Panchkula police in a case under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, Additional Sessions Judge Narender Sura on Saturday, while acquitting the accused, asked Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) to take action against the Investigating Officer (IO) and the then Station House Officer of the police station concerned.
The ASJ has also asked for an action taken a report from the DCP in three months.
Praduman Gupta (52), arrested on July 11, 2016, was acquitted on Saturday after the prosecution failed to prove charges against him. Gupta, according to the police, had allegedly supplied 2 kg 890 gm charas to one Pasang Lamba, who was arrested by Pinjore police on July 4, 2016.
Lamba, however, was declared proclaimed offender on April 17, 2017, for failing to appear in court for the hearing while out on bail. Lamba is still absconding. SHO, Sub-Inspector Deepak Kumar, and IO, Sub-Inspector Mange Ram, were posted at Pinjore PS at the time of the case.
The court said that investigations in the case were not just “poor” but the challan, too, against the accused had been filed without conducting an investigation. “This is nothing but an eyewash. The investigation is most unscientific, non-professional and lopsided which cannot be considered fair by any stretch of the imagination.
As per the settled law, fair investigation is also the right of the accused. The court considers it appropriate to forward a copy of this order to Deputy Commissioner of Police with a request to look into the matter and take appropriate action against SI Mange Ram and SI Deepak Kumar so that in future, no innocent person shall be made to face trial or no guilty person shall go scot-free because of this kind of investigation,” read the judgment.
It also said that the DCP “is also expected to look into the entire case in the background of the observations made by this court so that investigating officers and SHOs could be sensitized in time and necessary compliance of various acts, codes will be done during the investigation”.
“Valuable time of courts could be saved by taking remedial actions in this regard and people will get justice at the earliest. A report in regard to action taken should be submitted within three months from the date of receiving the copy of the judgment,” the judgment specified.
Defense counsel Manbir Rathi said four blank papers were seen and recovered from the police file during cross-examination of the IO by him and then it was placed in the court.
The judgment read, “It is a matter of record that four blank papers which bear thumb mark of the accused and a stamp of the police station are lying in the police file and this was admitted to by Sub-Inspector Mange Ram and SHO Deepak Kumar. They did not give any reason for taking thumbmarks of the accused on blank papers and accordingly, there is every likelihood that such blank papers bearing thumb impression of the accused would have later been converted into disclosure statement of the accused facing trial in this case and converted into other memos, placed on record. In view of the above discussion, the court is of the view that there are glaring discrepancies and irregularities in the investigation conducted by SI Mange Ram and preparing of challan by SI Deepak Kumar.”
Also, it stated that “after going through the entire court file and police file, this court is pained to observe that there was lack of skill and quality in the investigation conducted by SI Mange Ram and proceedings conducted by SI Deepak Kumar”.
Rathi said, “The police officials had not placed on record CDRs or call details which established the relation between the two accused. The case diary was also not maintained properly.”
Panchkula DCP Abhishek Jorwal said he will study the case. “Yes, I have got to know about the court’s directions. I am waiting for the copy of the judgment.”