Shoddy investigation leads to acquittal of murder accused

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 24: Principal Sessions Judge Kathua, M K Hanjura, has acquitted one Punnu Ram, who was facing trial for the offence of committing murder of Mansa Ram for the last seven years.
According to the police case, Mansa Ram, son of Beli Ram of Dharam Kote, Billawar, received injuries on his head when a gun of hunter went off negligently in the forests. The injured was taken to GMC Jammu but he succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital.
Accordingly, a case under Section 304-II RPC was registered and during the investigation it surfaced that the accused namely Punnu Ram, the deceased and others had hobby for hunting and the accused fired a shot that hit the deceased on his head. After completion of investigation, challan was presented in the court of law under Section 304 RPC.
While acquitting the accused of the charges, Principal Sessions Kathua M K Hanjura observed, “the role of investigating officer in this case requires a special mention. He has not been examined in the case though there is evidence on record that he knew the cause of death”, adding “leaving the witnesses apart, some of the investigating persons do not appear as witnesses in the court even in cases of murder”.
“Accountability has become causality. This case is one such example. If this situation prevails, only God can save us from future miscarriages of justice. One shudders to think of a time when only the criminal will rule the roost and the law-abiding citizens will be the victims or mute spectators”, Principal Sessions Judge said, adding “ours is a swinging society where, for the time being, anything goes. One can only pray and hope that the value system changes, for the better, resulting in parallel better performance by the police personnel also”.
After hearing PP Ravi Kumar Gupta for the State whereas Advocate YC Katoch for the accused, he observed, “in the present case the witnesses have given divergent views regarding the mode and manner in which the death of the accused was caused. The examination of SHO would, to a great extent, have helped solve the riddle. But that has not been done either deliberately or inadvertently”, adding “whatever be the cause of the death of the deceased, there is no satisfactory evidence on record. The cause of death of the deceased remains shrouded”.
“Viewed in this context a judicial process cannot be issued in the matter as the witnesses have not supported the prosecution case”, the Court said and acquitted the accused of the charges. The copy of judgement was sent to SSP Kathua for action against the Investigating Officer.


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