18 acquitted in police station rioting case
THANE: 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 entered the post and broke luggage boxes of SRPF personnel and robbed them of cash, ATM cards, identity cards and threw away the goods and set them on fire.
Around 24 witnesses were examined by the prosecution during the trial.
Advocate Dhananjay Patil, appearing for the accused, contested the allegations and told the court that his clients were innocent and not involved in the crime. He, however, did not produce any witness in support of the defence.
Rejecting the prosecution’s version, Judge Bhaisare noted that two material (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. Identification of accused before court and police station cannot be said to be sufficient, he observed.
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.