Poor investigation by cops in assault on govt officials results in acquittal | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Poor investigation by cops in assault on govt officials results in acquittal

Mar 02, 2023 01:05 AM IST

The courts concluded trials in around 28 of the cases registered for assault on these government officials who were on duty, but only in seven cases, the prosecution could prove the charges. In some of these cases, the accused themselves had pleaded guilty.

Mumbai: It has been nearly seven years since 53-year-old traffic constable Vilas Shinde was assaulted by two youths, who were stopped for riding bike without helmets in Khar, causing the policeman’s death. The government has since then even increased the quantum of punishment for assaulting government officials from two to three years. However, poor investigation has resulted in acquittal in most of such cases.

MUMBAI, INDIA - AUGUST 31, 2016 : Nine days after he was assaulted by two brothers at a petrol pump in Khar, traffic head constable Vilas Shinde, 51, died in the intensive care unit of Lilavati Hospital in Bandra (west) on Wednesday afternoon. Shinde was a resident of a BDD chawl in Worli. Originally from Satara, he is survived by a wife and two children on Wednesday August 31, 2016 in Mumbai.
MUMBAI, INDIA - AUGUST 31, 2016 : Nine days after he was assaulted by two brothers at a petrol pump in Khar, traffic head constable Vilas Shinde, 51, died in the intensive care unit of Lilavati Hospital in Bandra (west) on Wednesday afternoon. Shinde was a resident of a BDD chawl in Worli. Originally from Satara, he is survived by a wife and two children on Wednesday August 31, 2016 in Mumbai.

The sessions court last month acquitted accused in 17 cases registered for deterring government officials from doing their duty by way of criminal force. The courts concluded trials in around 28 of the cases registered for assault on these government officials who were on duty, but only in seven cases, the prosecution could prove the charges. In some of these cases, the accused themselves had pleaded guilty.

Similarly in January, the sessions courts heard around 35 cases of assault on government officials, out of which only in two cases, the prosecution could prove the charges against the accused. In December, 16 out of the 19 cases resulted in acquittal of the accused.

Twenty-two-year-old Aakash Shirkar was booked by Chembur police on January 3, 2017, as he allegedly had assaulted a traffic constable on duty when he was stopped from riding a bike without helmet. In the said incident, the policeman sustained injuries on his right knee and right elbow. Six years on, Shirkar has now been acquitted for want of evidence.

Last month, a city sessions court while letting off Shirkar observed that there was no evidence to even show that the constable was on duty and at the said spot at the time of the incident. The investigating officer also failed to collect the documents to show that the officer was on duty and was posted at that spot where he caught the accused. The prosecution also failed to prove that the injuries sustained by the officer were actually inflicted by the accused, the court observed.

Vishal Ingawale, advocate, said, “In many of the cases, police have failed to collect basic evidence such as police’s attendance register to show that the victim policeman was on duty on the day, CCTV footage which could prove accused’s involvement or testimony of independent eye witnesses to support the prosecution case.”

On February 3 this year, the sessions court acquitted 29-year-old Huzaffa Gaus Ghori, who was a college student at the time of the incident, booked for attacking a traffic cop on duty. As per the prosecution case, on July 14, 2016, traffic police constable Dinesh Vichare was posted on Military Road, Andheri (East).

Ghori was allegedly not wearing a helmet, had earphones on and also jumped the traffic signal. When Vichare stopped him, he pushed the constable and ran away. Vichare chased him, and caught him at the distance.

Eight years later, when the sessions court acquitted Ghori, it observed, “The informant is silent as to the exact spot where he was standing and about the surrounding circumstances. Investigating Officer has not recorded Panchnama of alleged spot of occurrence.

“Therefore, the statement of informant that — he gave a hand signal, accused did not stop, accused came near him and gave push — is doubtful. In normal course of human conduct, a person jumping traffic signal will not take his vehicle towards or near the traffic constable, rather he will run away.”

In another case, a BEST bus driver, Appa Kale was alleged to have been assaulted by Shivraj Hadgal, an auto rickshaw driver on April 12, 2013 near RK Studio. The court acquitted the driver last month as the prosecution failed to prove that at the relevant time, the accused was riding the said autorickshaw.

Besides, the investigating officer had not conducted any test identification parade to establish the identity of the accused. Moreover, there was again no document produced to show the driver was on duty when he was assaulted.

In August 2016, Shinde attached to Bandra Mahim causeway traffic chowki, had stopped a two-wheeler as the riders were not wearing helmets and also the rider was a minor. In the incident, Shinde sustained injuries to his skull resulting in his death two days later. Since one of the accused was a minor, the trial was conducted only against one accused, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2020.

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