Probe ‘not up to the mark’, man ac­quit­ted un­der Wildlife Act

The Political and Business Daily - - METRO/NCR -

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".

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