Overwriting, erasing in complaint facilitates acquittal in illegal mining

This is the second such instance in the last one month where the prosecution’s failure to prove charges led to acquittal in a mining case.

Updated: Sep 11, 2018 13:04:44

By Shailee Dogra

Representative Image (HT File Photo)

Overwriting and erasing by the police in documents, including the complaint, has led to the acquittal of a Dhanas resident in an illegal mining case. This is the second acquittal in the last one month where the prosecution’s to failure to prove charges led to acquittal in a mining case.

Anil Kumar, 33 years, of New Colony Dhanas, Chandigarh, was booked by the police under the mining and minerals development regulation Act in May 2017.

As per the police, block-level extension officer (BLEO) Uggar Singh had moved an application on May 15, 2017, against illegal mining saying that one tipper, bearing registration number HR-37-C-1751, loaded with sand had been stopped near Siswan T-point. When the police party demanded bill/payment slips from the driver, who was later identified as Anil Kumar, he was unable to produce it. He was immediately arrested and later released on bail.

The police had maintained that the case was registered on the basis of a written complaint moved by BLEO Uggar Singh and that he was present with the police team when Ashok was arrested. However while testifying before the court, Uggar Singh categorically said that “no document, except his handwritten complaint, was prepared on the spot”.

The case, however, fell flat owing to “material discrepancies and contradictions in the testimonies of prosecution”.

The court observed, “As per the investigating officer, the naka was laid at 4:30pm in the presence of the mining officer, whereas as per recovery witness HC Bant Singh, the mining officer was not present at the spot of recovery on May 15, 2017. Rather, he made it clear during his cross-examination that the mining officer was not there at the spot at the time of alleged recovery.” Further, no independent witness, such as a panch, sarpanch, namberdar, was brought in at the time of the alleged recovery.

The court further observed, “ It (complaint) bears overwriting of date. Initially, it was written as May 14, 2017 and after overwriting it was changed to May 15, 2017. Besides, there appears to be some endorsement with a seal at the bottom of the application which has been erased. Further, there is no explanation as to what this endorsement was and why was it erased.”

“These cuttings are not initiated or signed by anyone. No explanation is given in this regard. As such, these are fatal to the prosecution case, causing a serious dent on the prosecution story, especially when, as per the mining officer, no document was prepared in his presence on the spot, except complaint moved by him,” it held.

“In these all circumstances, the alleged recovery of sand does not inspire any confidence. The prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charges against the accused beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt and as such, the accused facing trial, is hereby acquitted,” ruled the court of Daljeet Kaur, judicial magistrate first class, Kharar on September 5, copy of the order made available now.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 13:03:08


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