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‘Delhi Police’s case founded on wrong assumption’: Court acquits 3 persons of MCOCA charges

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NEW DELHI, April 22: A court here has acquitted three persons who were accused of running an organised crime syndicate and charged under stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), saying the Delhi Police’s case was “founded on a wrong assumption”.

The court observed that the confession statements of the accused, which are admissible as evidence under MCOCA, did not help the prosecution’s case, nor did it prove the charges against them.

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Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing a case against Satender alias Baba, Ajeet and Rahul, who were accused of running an organised crime syndicate, which included collecting intelligence, conveying threats and using violence.

The gang led by Baba, which was involved in heinous crimes like attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery, criminal intimidation and illegal arms possession, had established such a notorious image that people were terrified, merely when their names were mentioned, the prosecution claimed.

The court noted that according to the Delhi Police’s final report, the three accused were prosecuted based on the charge sheets filed against them earlier in previous cases.

“Prosecution in this case did not refer to any immediate cause of action alleging continued unlawful activity by the accused persons. Accused persons were charge-sheeted only based on their involvement in past cases, which were taken as instances of continued unlawful activity,” the court said.

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In its order passed earlier this month, it said the prosecution’s stand did not meet the legal requirements for invoking MCOCA and the Delhi Police’s case was “founded on a wrong assumption”.

“Even otherwise, as per evidence on the record, except for the evidence in the form of confessional statements of the accused persons, there is no incriminating evidence for their involvement in the unlawful activity,” the court said.

It noted that at the time of recording their confessional statements, the magistrate concerned had asked each accused whether they made the statements, to which they replied in the negative and said that they were illiterate and police had obtained their signature on some unknown documents.

“They signed such documents out of fear because they were threatened by police to be implicated in cases. This scenario shows that all the accused persons literally disowned the claim of the police that they had voluntarily made confessional statements before the respective officers of the rank of deputy commissioners of police (DCPs),” the court said.

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It said the trio were produced before the magistrate on the same day when they made the statements.

“It is difficult to presume that a person having volunteered to make a confessional statement about crimes committed by him, would deny having made such statement with the passage of some minutes or hours,” the court said.

“The voluntariness of such a person cannot be so fragile to vanish in such a short time, that too when as per record being in police custody such accused persons did not have access to anyone else except the police officials, who could influence them otherwise,” it added.

The court concluded that as the confessional statements did not appear voluntarily, they were not “credible pieces of evidence”.

“They (confessional statements) cannot be relied upon to say that accused persons were members of a crime syndicate and were involved in organised crime,” it said.

The court said that though a confession was admissible as evidence under MCOCA provisions, according to judicial precedents, such statements for becoming the basis of conviction had to be “voluntary, truthful and reliable”.

“I find that the prosecution has wrongly concluded that accused persons indulged in committing organised crime. The alleged confessional statements of the accused persons also do not help the prosecution to cure the defect (in the case) or to prove the charges,” the judge said.

“I find that accused persons are entitled to acquittal in this case and hence, they are acquitted of the charges levelled,” he added.

The Gokalpuri police station had registered a case under MCOCA sections against the accused based on the approval granted by the then joint commissioner of police, east Delhi range. (PTI)







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