By AQIB AHMAD
SRINAGAR: A court here has ordered the state police chief to hold a departmental inquiry into ‘U-turn’ by a Station House Officer as it acquitted an accused in 2004 drug peddling case following prosecution’s failure to bring home guilt against him.
The case owes its origin to the registration of FIR (82/2004) lodged by Inspector Mir Rasiq, then SHO Khanyar, regarding the recovery of contraband from the accused—Shabir Ahmad Rather son of Abdul Rehman Rather of Koolipora Khanyar.
As per the contents of the FIR, on 2 October 2004, SDPO Khanyar– Ali Mohammad Shah along with SHO police station Khanyar—Mir Rasiq and SHO police station Rainawari—Mushtaq Ahmad— laid Naka at Ikhwan Chowk Srinagar and found Shabir Ahmad Rather roaming in suspicious circumstances. During the personal search, the police said, a polythene bag was recovered from Shabir in which charas like substance was found. On interrogation, no plausible justification was given by Shabir following with docket was prepared and sent to police station, Khanyar. The investigation was assigned to Sub-Inspector Manzor Hussain who completed necessary formalities including preparation of seizure memo, site map and recorded statement of witnesses under section 161 Cr.PC.
“Out of recovered substance, 100 grams of contraband have been sealed under the supervision of Executive Magistrate and sent for expert opinion which confirmed it to be charas,” the police had said and subsequently filed charge-sheet against Rather.
In his deposition before the court, Mir Rasiq stated that on 2 October 2004 he was posted as SHO Khanyar and on the day, he and SDPO were at ikhwan chowk where a Naka was laid and gave account of arresting Rather. Mir Rasiq stated that at Naka he was accompanied by SDPO and members of escort. Mir Rasiq stated that he did not know the names of escort members of SDPO and besides police personnel present on spot. Mir Rasiq said that accused was searched by a constable but he did not know his name. He could not say whether Rather was searched by SHO of police station Rainawari and he also did not know whether the SHO was present on spot or not and that it seems possible that SHO Rainawari would not have been on spot as the area did not fall within his jurisdiction. He also did not know as to what clothes Rather was wearing. He also could not deny the fact it might have been recovered from the bag but he remembers that nothing was recovered from the bag. The court also recorded statements of other prosecution witnesses, who all belonged to police department. No civilian witness was cited by the prosecution and even magistrate was produced as witness by the police.
After hearing both sides, the Principal District and Sessions Judge Rashid Ali Dar acquitted Rather and discharged both his bail and personal bonds.
“Before parting with the case, I am of the opinion that conduct of Mir Rasiq, the then SHO Knaniyar for portraying in the outline of the case the presence of SI Mushtaq Ahmad SHO, police station Rainawari on spot and thereafter taking almost U-turn in his deposition before the court that there was little probability of presence of SI Mushtaq Ahmad on spot, is not reconcilable and same requires to be enquired into by the higher officers in the police department by holding a departmental enquiry taking appropriate action as may be warranted under rules,” the court said, and ordered that judgment be sent to Director General of police for taking appropriate action in the matter. The court has also asked the DGP to apprise the court about the outcome of the enquiry.