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Investigating Officer Can't Change Stand Or Rely On Material Not Forming Part Of Chargesheet To Arraign The Accused: Gujarat High Court

25 May 2022 4:35 AM GMT
‘Long Distance Between “May Be True” And “Must Be True”, Prosecution Must Travel All The Way To Prove The Case Beyond Reasonable Doubt’: Guj HC Affirms Conviction U/S 302 Of IPC

While quashing the FIR registered against the Applicant for offences under Sections-66(1)b, 65AE, 116(2), 81, 98 and 99 of the Gujarat Prohibition Act, the Gujarat High Court has held that it is not open for the Investigating Officer to rely upon other material which was not a part of the chargesheet to allege that the Applicant was involved in the crime in in question.

The Applicant had challenged the FIR since initially he was not named in the FIR but after the investigation his name was included in the charge sheet basis the statements of the co-accused. It was also mentioned in the chargesheet that the Applicant was the principal purchaser of prohibited goods despite there being no material to support the allegations. There was also no evidence that the Applicant had piloted the truck with prohibited goods.

Per contra, the APP insisted that the chargesheet specifically mentioned that the prohibited goods were delivered to the Applicant and he later transported the goods in his truck.

When the High Court inquired into the evidence for this allegation, the APP pointed out that the Applicant was in close contact with the other accused. However, the Bench noted that though the truck was intercepted on 29 December 2014, the call details were only till 28 December. Thus, it concluded that there was no material to show that the Applicant was piloting the vehicle.

Justice Nikhil Kariel remarked,

"While it may be true that the present applicant was, in touch with the other accused, but in the considered opinion of this Court without any further material, to show that the applicant was involved in the conspiracy for bringing prohibited goods in the State of Gujarat merely by alleging that the applicant was piloting the truck in question, without any material in support of such allegation the applicant could not have been arraigned as an accused in the charge sheet..."even otherwise from the call detail records, it is not coming out as to how the present applicant could be stated to have piloted truck in question."

The Bench also observed that the Investigating Officers had changed their stand by first alleging in the chargesheet that the goods were transported to the Applicant and then contesting before the Court that the Applicant had piloted the truck. This compelled the High Court to remark tersely that the Investigating Officers cannot be allowed to change their stand and rely on material which did not form part of the chargesheet to arraign the Applicant as an accused person.

Keeping in view the lack of evidence, the High Court quashed the FIR and the criminal case arising thereof.


Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 181

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