18 acquitted in police station rioting case HC asks parties to submit reply in Kharghar civic body petition
A local court has acquitted all 18 people in a 2006 case of rioting and attack on a police post in Bhiwandi town here.
District Judge AS Bhaisare observed that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against all the accused and gave them benefit of doubt.
The 18 were tried for offences under IPC sections 143, 147, 148, 335, 336, 395, 397, 427 read with 149, and relevant sections of the Bombay Police Act and Prevention of Destruction of Public Property Act.
Additional public prosecutor Dilip Bahiram told the court that on July 5, 2006, the mob pelted stones at a police station which was being constructed at Kotergate in Bhiwandi and tried to demolish it. The mob broke luggage boxes of SRPF personnel and robbed them of cash, ATM cards, identity cards and set the goods on fire. Around 24 witnesses were examined by the prosecution. Advocate Dhananjay Patil, appearing for the accused, told the court that his clients were innocent but did not produce any witness.
Judge Bhaisare noted that two key witnesses are not examined by the prosecution, for reasons best known to them. The material evidence against the accused is missing.
None of the witnesses identified the accused in identification parade, as it was not conducted by executive magistrate.
From the prosecution’s story, it can safely be inferred that the mob had attacked the police post. But, there is no evidence on record that the accused persons were responsible for the same, the judge noted.
The Bombay high court has directed the government and all the parties to submit their reply on the PIL filed by United Kharghar Action Committee (UKAC).
UKAC has demanded that Kharghar be made an independent municipal corporation and not be included in Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) as the state government has decided.
A hearing in the case was held on Thursday when the court issued the directions. The government advocate was to present the government’s say at the hearing. It was not done due to some reasons and hence the court posted the next hearing for September 14. It then ordered that at the next hearing along with the government, the other parties involved in the process too should submit their reply.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Kharghar gram panchayat at its meeting passed a unanimous resolution against being included in PMC. Along with Kharghar, Owe and Rohinjan gram panchayats too have opposed inclusion in PMC.
However, an attempt by the opposition to pass a similar resolution in Kamothe gram panchayat did not succeed for lack of quorum.
The planning of the proposed PMC has been done as per the census of 2011. After exclusion of 36 villages of NAINA, it is likely to be a D category municipal corporation.
The proposed PMC had initially estimated an income of Rs84 crore from water charges, property tax and stamp duties from the municipal council area and 68 villages that were to be included in it.