5 May 2022 8:00 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently directed the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee to take appropriate action against the Police Officers concerned for tampering with forensic evidence in a rape case, to allegedly shield the Appellant/accused, who also happened to be a police officer. Justice Vivek Agarwal further lamented that the Court would've directed that the case...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently directed the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee to take appropriate action against the Police Officers concerned for tampering with forensic evidence in a rape case, to allegedly shield the Appellant/accused, who also happened to be a police officer.
Justice Vivek Agarwal further lamented that the Court would've directed that the case be handed over to the CBI for further investigation but the same, prima facie, would not help the victim as the delinquent officers had 'already played their role' by tampering with the evidence-
This Court would have handed over this case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in view of the conduct of the Police Personnel which includes the appellant, Superintendent of Police, Chhindwara, and Additional Director General of Police, Jabalpur but at this distance of time when Civil Surgeon of District Hospital, Chhindwara and concerned Police Personnel have already played their role, and it is not possible to retry the sample, therefore, any indulgence of the CBI prima facie does not appears to be of immediate help in protecting the rights of the victim.
Instead, the Court directed the concerned officers, including the Appellant, be transferred to far flung places where they would not be able to influence the witnesses-
Therefore, instead of handing over the investigation to the CBI, it is directed that concerned Officials be transferred specially the appellant to a far flung place in Madhya Pradesh so that he is not able to influence the witnesses as now case is to be decided on its own merits in view of the available ocular evidence.
Facts of the Case
The Appellant was accused of offences punishable under Section 376(1), 294, 323, 506 of IPC and under Section 3(2)(va), 3(1)(w)(i) (ii) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 1989. He preferred an appeal before the Court under Section 14(A) of the SC/ST, Act for grant of bail.
The Appellant submitted before the Court that the DNA report in the case was found to be negative, inasmuch as Forensic Science Laboratory had opined that since sample of the fetus was preserved in Formalin Saline, therefore, DNA testing was not possible.
While examining the submissions of the parties and the documents on record, the Court brought its attention to the submissions of the Additional Director General of Police. As per the statements recorded by the ADGP, DNA samples sent to the lab for examination was spoiled by the staff of the hospital and that its administration was now trying to supress facts. Finding discrepancies in the statements recorded by the ADGP, the Court noted that the report submitted by him was not perused properly before submitting the same-
Additional Director General of police has not applied himself to the fact situation. It appears that he signed the report and has not taken into consideration the fact that there are no statements of Staff Nurse, Ms. Sudha Dhurve.
After scrutinizing the material brought on record, the Court held that prima facie it appeared that the evidence was tampered with to shield the Appellant/accused-
Accused appellant is a Police Personnel, thus there is good probability of he being shielded by the higher Police Officials for the reason best known to them...It is prima facie apparent that sample is tampered with and only beneficiary from the tempering of the sample is the present appellant. It also appears that now Police Officers are trying to save him.
The Court also expressed its dissatisfaction regarding the failure of the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee constituted under the provisions of the SC/ST Act to protect the rights of the victim in the present case-
In the present matter it appears that none of the Committees be it State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee for a District Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee have taken pains to do the needful as is provided in Rule 16(2), Rule 17 and Section 15-A(8) of the Act.
Appellant should have been transferred out of the local area to a far flung area so that he is not able to influence the witnesses.
Considering the merits of the case, the Court observed that since the forensic evidence was clearly tampered with and that there was high probability of tampering with other evidence, the Appellant could not be granted the benefit of bail-
As far as, merits of the present appeal is concerned, it is evident that forensic evidence has already been tempered with and now case is dependent on the ocular evidence, therefore, for the present when the appellant appears to be wielding sufficient influence on various authorities who are suppose to be independent, probability of tempering with the evidence cannot be ruled out thus unless important prosecution witnesses are examined it cannot be said that the appellant is entitled to be enlarged on bail.
With the aforesaid observations, the Court denied bail to the Appellant and accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. The Court further directed the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee through the Chief Secretary to take appropriate action against the delinquent persons within 15 days of the order.
Case Title: AJAY SAHU v. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH AND ANR.
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