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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 1:51 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 2:56 AM (IST)

Frame-up: HC orders Rs 5-lakh relief

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state to pay a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh each to two appellants for their false implication in a drugs case. The amount is to be recovered from Investigating Officer Darbara Singh, his property or his estate.

Justice Sudhir Mittal also directed the launching of prosecution against Darbara Singh for “deposing falsely under oath and for false implication with malicious intent”.

The directions came on two petitions filed against the State of Punjab and other respondents by Kuldeep Singh and Paramjit Singh through senior advocates RS Rai and Bipan Ghai along with Saurabh Arora and Deepinder Brar.

An FIR in the matter was registered on December 11, 2013, under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and Section 120-B of the IPC at the Kotwali police station in Nabha. It culminated in a common judgment of conviction dated March 29, 2017, by the Patiala Sessions Judge.

The prosecution case was that Sub-Inspector Darbara Singh received a tip-off that inmates of the Nabha maximum security jail were engaging in drug smuggling in connivance with certain jail officials. The money realised from drugs sale inside the jail premises was sent out through special messengers.

It was alleged that Kuldeep Singh was going to send money through Paramjit Singh.

Ruling that the conviction of the appellants could not be upheld, Justice Mittal set aside the impugned judgment while acquitting the appellants. They were ordered to be released from custody forthwith.

Justice Mittal asserted that the facts of this case as well as the evidence on record clearly suggested false implication. Paramjit Singh was arrested a day earlier as was evident from the statement of a defence witness.

Thereafter, a story of receiving secret information was concocted and effort was made to show that Paramjit Singh was arrested while emerging from the jail. The investigating officer failed in this attempt as CCTV footage was not obtained. A spot witness, ASI Rajiv Kumar, contradicted the prosecution by deposing that photographs or video were not taken or prepared in his presence. Even the person, who allegedly took the photographs, was not examined. Mobile phone could be recovered from Kuldeep Singh to establish that he was in contact with Paramjit Singh.

The phone allegedly used by him was actually owned by a third person totally unconnected with the incident. It, as such, was obvious that the Investigating Officer wanted to falsely implicate the appellants for reasons best known to him.

“The appellants have undergone a long trial of four years and incarceration of almost one-and-a half years and they deserve to be compensated for the agony,” Justice Mittal added.

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