Thursday, October 1, 2009

PCAPA men released, thanks to cops’ failure to substantiate charges

Rajib Chatterjee
KOLKATA, 1 OCT: In what appears to be an example of how the police often go overboard without adequate evidence to back them up, the additional chief judicial magistrate of the Jhargram court granted bail to four suspected Police Santrash Birodhi Public Committee (PSBPC) members yesterday after police failed to produce “materials on record” to justify charges brought against the accused under non-bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act, 1959.
The four suspected PSBPC members ~ Susanto Mullick, Sahadeb Sardar, Sheikh Dil Bahar and Anil Hasda ~ were arrested from Biridanga near Binpur in West Midnapore, on Monday for allegedly torching a private bus. All are residents of Binpur. Charges under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC and Sections 25 (possession of any unlicensed arms and ammunition) and 27 (use of any unlicensed arms or ammunition) of Arms Act 1959 ~ all non-bailable offences ~ were levelled against them. This apart, charges under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 435 (mischief by fire or any explosive substance) were also brought against them.
During their court appearance yesterday, it was submitted that after receiving information from reliable source a sub-inspector of Binpur police station, Mr Pradip Kundu, along with his colleagues, rushed to Biridanga where they saw some people extinguishing fire in a bus (WB-67 6815). It was further submitted that the four were arrested on the spot after being identified by witnesses. Two empty 12-bore cartridges were recovered. The magistrate was also told that two persons ~ Mr Shankar Mondal and Mr Sudhangshu Dandapath ~ were prevented from extinguishing the fire.
The defence lawyer, Mr Koushik Sinha, who moved a bail petition to the court, submitted that no seizure of arms and ammunition was made from his clients and the charges of attempt to murder was fabricated since there was no one in the bus. He further submitted that his clients were innocent villagers and had no connections with the PSBPC.
The magistrate later enquired about materials regarding non-bailable offences to the Assistant public prosecutor. Opposing the bail petition, the assistant public prosecutor submitted that the Case Diary (CD) be called for within a short period and materials would apppear against the accused to substantiate non-bailable offences.
Mr Sinha told The Statesman: “There was nothing to substantiate the charges brought under non-bailable sections. After considering the material on record, the additional chief judicial magistrate found no reason for which charges under non-bailable sections could be leveled. He granted bail to the four and fixed 27 October as the next date of hearing.”

Source: The Statesman 2 October 2009.

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