Monday, 17 January, 2022
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Tale of 2 charge sheets in POCSO case: Why court pulled up Delhi Police for ‘treachery, fraud’

Local court notes that the chargesheet filed with it had made important omissions, and ‘prejudiced’ the right of the accused to a fair trial. 

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New Delhi: A Delhi court has summoned the Southeast district DCP Esha Pandey and also asked the city police commissioner to initiate an inquiry against the investigating officer (IO), the station house officer of the Jamia Nagar Police Station and the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) for New Friends Colony for filing two different charge sheets in a POCSO case. 

The case involves the alleged kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old minor girl at Madanpur Khadar JJ colony. The FIR was lodged at the Jamia Nagar Police Station on 23 March 2021. 

The accused was arrested by the police on 25 March under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping); 376 (rape); 366 (abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage); 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and under the POCSO Act. The accused allegedly kept the minor in captivity for six days and raped her on multiple instances, the police have claimed in the charge sheet.

But it emerged that there were actually two different charge sheets — one submitted in the court and supplied to the accused’s counsel, and the other handed over to the complainant and the public prosecutor. Both these charge sheets were filed on the same date — 1 June 2021 — and have been undersigned by the same IO, SHO and ACP. 

Observing that filing of two different charge sheets amounts to “perjury, fraud and cheating”, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Gaurav Rao passed an order last Monday, terming it “treachery of the highest order” and calling it a “classic case of abuse of power by the police”.

The court further slammed the IO, SHO and ACP’s conduct, calling it “perfidious and reprehensible”, adding that the police “prejudiced” the right of the accused to a fair trial. 

Speaking to ThePrint, a senior Delhi Police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said the order had been received and the DCP concerned had been asked to be present at the next hearing on 20 January 2022. “An inquiry has already been initiated at our level. The matter is sub judice,” the officer said. 


Also read: Calcutta HC says voluntary sexual acts with minors won’t be POCSO case, acquits rape accused


Differences in the 2 charge sheets

According to both the charge sheets, filed on the basis of the victim’s statement and probe, the accused allegedly raped her multiple times during six days of captivity. 

However, the court has noted that “material facts have been omitted” in the charge sheet submitted in court and to the defence counsel, compared to the one sent to the public prosecutor and the complainant. 

In the charge sheet with the public prosecutor and the complainant, on the basis of which the accused’s lawyer pointed out the differences in court, the police have mentioned that the accused’s mobile location, analysed on the basis of Call Detail Records (CDR), is not of the crime scene — Madanpur Khadar JJ colony. 

In the charge sheet filed in court and provided to the accused, this detail hasn’t been mentioned. 

However, both the charge sheets mention that Forensic Science Laboratory reports on both the accused and the victim’s phone are awaited. 

The charge sheet with the public prosecutor and the complainant also elaborately mentions that the house owner and tenant of the room where the minor was allegedly kept had identified another man with her, and also said that they only stayed in the room for two hours. According to this charge sheet, the police have sought the CDR of the second man’s mobile, and will file a supplementary charge sheet. 

However, in the charge sheet filed in court and the accused’s counsel, there is no mention of the second man. 

“There are several other lapses in the present matter, which are also grave and serious in nature and which appear to be deliberate and intentional,” the judge noted. 

“To point the least, the statement of the counselor and the house owner where the victim was allegedly kept had given clean chit to the accused and pointed towards the involvement of (the second man). The investigation is absolutely silent on this aspect,” the order added. 

Sources in the Delhi Police said that the changes in the charge sheet were made as the complainant never mentioned or identified the second man. They added that the police took legal advice regarding this. 

“The victim never took the second man’s name in any of the statements, in front of the police and while recording her 164 CrPC statement in front of the magistrate,” an officer privy to the case said. 

“A ‘missing’ complaint was lodged initially in the case in early February by the girl’s mother, but the minor, after returning home, said she had gone to a friend’s house. On 23 March, the minor and her mother lodged another complaint, alleging rape. The victim named the accused in her statements to the police and in front of the magistrate,” the officer continued.

“However, the landlord who lives on the ground floor said that he has never seen the victim before. The tenant, who lived in the room, and had later shifted out, said that the girl had come there only for two hours with another man,” the officer said. 

“The second man was never arrested or detained. He and the accused are known to one another, and are both from Meerut. Police will file a supplementary charge sheet after further investigation.” 

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


Also read: Narco terror, Afghanistan — why Delhi Police Special Cell has IPS officers as DCPs after 31 yrs


 

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