“There should not be any confusion with regard to the main case, wherein all of the three policemen are charged under section 302 and 120 of IPC and their release is also challenged in the court”
Amid heating up of debate over release of one of the ‘co-accused’ of 2018 Rasana rape and murder case, Counsel representing the Jammu and Kashmir government clarified that there is nothing like acquittal, but he has been released on bail.
In an exclusive conversation with The Typewriter, Advocate R S Cheema said that the accused has been released on bail and it is normal, as he had almost completed more than half of his sentence.
“Three people were sentenced for five years in a case of destroying the evidence and they have already completed 2 years and nine months. We have already filed appeals in the main case, but as per Supreme Court observation, when a person completes half of his sentence, he is eligible for bail, except in cases of murder,” said Advocate Cheema, adding that these three people are police personnel, who had been accused of destroying the evidence.
These three people were sentenced for five years under RPC 201 and they have already completed half of the time, Advocate said, adding “Excluding parole period of one year, these three police personnel have completed half of their sentence.”
Advocate said that two out of the three policemen were already out on bail and the present one namely Anand Dutta also falls in the same category and has been granted bail by the court.
“Although, they are yet to get punished for the main case of rape and murder of an eight year old, which is still pending adjudication,” said Advocate Cheema, adding that they have only completed their punishment of destroying the evidence under section 201 of RPC.
Raising concerns over misrepresentation of facts in the section of media, Advocate Cheema stressed that there is no acquittal and an appeal of State is still pending adjudication.
“There should not be any confusion with regard to the main case, wherein all of the three policemen are charged under section 302 and 120 of IPC and their release is also challenged in the court,” said Advocate Cheema.
Earlier, Haryana and Punjab High Court suspended the remaining sentence of the accused-Anand Dutta during the pendency of the appeal.
“Applicant stands convicted for offence punishable under Section 201 of RPC read with Section 34 and 120-B of RPC pertaining to FIR No. 10 dated 12.01.2018 registered at Police Station Hiranagar (Jammu and Kashmir), and has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of five years in terms of judgment of conviction and order of sentence dated 10.06.2019 passed by learned Sessions Judge, Pathankot,” reads the order, adding that as the bail application of another co-accused was listed in the motion list, the learned Senior Counsel R.S.Cheema, Senior Advocate, appearing on behalf of State of Jammu and Kashmir conveyed his no objection to the taking up of the suspension of sentence, on merits itself.
Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the applicant has contended that he has been falsely implicated in the aforesaid case and that the allegations leveled by the prosecution are not corroborated in any material particulars. An argument has been raised that the applicant was officiating SHO only on 11.01.2018 and the regular SHO returned from leave on 12.01.2018.
“The investigation was conducted under the DSP and thereafter under the second SIT headed by the Additional Superintendent of Police,” reads the order, adding that the incriminating evidence in the form of statement of PW-9 is stated to be discrepant and unreliable inasmuch as the said witness admitted during cross-examination that the allegation of ante-dating the receipt of the case property in malkhana was not recorded by him.
Court order further reads that it was submitted that out of the total awarded sentence of 5 years, the applicant has already undergone an actual custody of 2 years, 7 months and 3 days out of which the actual custody after conviction is 1 year 6 months and 24 days.
“The applicant has thus undergone more than half of the substantive sentence awarded to him and that sentence of the co-accused namely Tilak Raj has also been suspended by this Court vide order dated 16.12.2021 passed in CRM-20285 of 2019 in CRA-S-1814-2019,” reads an order of the High Court, adding that it is also not disputed that the applicant has availed parole for a period of 11 months and 14 days.
Court observed that there is no instance that the applicant has either misused the concession of parole so granted or that any untoward incident had taken place during the period of parole, so as to corroborate the apprehension raised by the learned counsel appearing for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Debatable issues arise which would be considered at the time of final hearing of the main appeal. We are not opining on merits of the case lest it may prejudice the outcome of the appeal,” court observed, adding that prayer made in the instant application is accepted and the remaining sentence of the applicant is suspended during the pendency of the appeal.
The applicant is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing personal/surety bonds to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate concerned.