Probe ‘not up to the mark’, man acquitted under Wildlife Act
AFTER a decade-long trial, a Delhi court has acquitted a man of charges of illegally trading in Shahtoosh shawls.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma acquitted Khurshid Ahmed due to various lapses in the manner of investigation. He had been charged with illegally dealing in banned wildlife products.
Khurshid was arrested on February 4, 2003, following a raid at his shop, 'Kashmir Emporium' on Janpath, by a team which seized six such shawls. The raiding party had acted on a tip-off regarding the illegal trade of Shahtoosh shawls.
Khurshid's counsel PK Dubey told the court that the case property could not be linked to his client as they were not sealed on the spot and no identification mark had been put on them.
He said that the chances of them having been tampered with could not be ruled out as they were kept with other shawls seized from other traders.
The court, for its part, noted that under the Wild Life Protection Act, it was mandatory for articles seized to be produced in court without delay, although the same had not been done in the present case.
"No doubt, all members of the raiding party are officials of wild life department and must be aware that if case property is not sealed and produced in court, the accused would try to take advantage of the same. "But, in this case, the investigation appears as being not up to the mark," the court said.
It also said that had investigators "sealed the case property at the spot and recorded the disclosure statement of the accused, the fate of the case would have been different".