HC acquits two men accused of cop’s murder

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, May 20: High Court while suspending the life sentence awarded by the trial court to two accused  in murder of a constable directed the authorities to release them as prosecution has failed to reach out to the real culprit.
Observing that the commitment to reach to the actual criminal was missing in the instant case, court directed Director General of Police to  look into the matter and issue appropriate directions to all concerned police officers that the investigation of the case, when it pertains to a killing of a human being, is entrusted to a senior most skilled officer so as to reach to the actual criminal otherwise faith of the people in the system is getting eroded.
Giving the benefit of doubt on the assumption of contradictory statement of witnesses the Division Bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice D S Thakur allowed the appeal challenging order of conviction and acquitted both accused from the charges of murder.
Three gunmen namely namely Shabir Ahmad Bhat S/o Mohammad Abdullah Bhat R/o Marathgam, Mushtaq Ahmad Malla alias Furqan S/o Ghulam Ahmad R/o Shatgund and Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai S/o Ghulam Hassan Ganai R/o Manchanpora Panzla  entered into the house of deceased Abdul Gaffar Mir working in the Police Department at Srinagar as Senior Grade Constable and fired upon from the illegal weapons resulting into his death.
On the basis of material collected, accused were established to have committed the offences under Section 302 RPC and 7/27 Arms Act. During investigation accused Shabir Ahmad Bhat was arrested, accused  Mushtaq Ahmad Malla alias Furqan had been detained under Public Safety Ac, who is also involved in case FIR No.27/2008 P/S Handwara for commission of offences punishable under Section 307 RPC, 7/25 Arms Act, 20 UL Act and 2/3 E&IMCO whereas other accused namely  Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai is absconding.
The detained accused persons have been held guilty and convicted for commission of offence punishable under Section 302 RPC by the trial court and have been sentenced to imprisonment for life.
On failure of prosecution to reach to the culprit, court said, every Investigating Officer has played his own role in his own way least realizing that they have failed to arrive at the real culprit. “The Investigating Officers are the architects of the case. They should have discharged their duties with commitment which they have not”, court observed.
Court on acquittal of two accused said, that it is a fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that an ‘accused is presumed to be innocent’ and therefore the burden lies on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, adding with when identity of the terrorists who killed the deceased has absolutely become doubtful, how conviction could be recorded against the accused persons.

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