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Dead man comes alive to save accused
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Dead men do tell tales. Nearly three years after a Panipat resident was thrown into a canal and charges were framed against the accused, the ‘drowned man’ surfaced in a court for rescuing his ‘murderers’. But before the law could take its course, the prime accused was compelled to spend over 15 months behind bars.

The astounding incident, reflecting the modus operandi adopted by the Haryana police while investigating criminal cases, has now come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s scanner. The petition reveals how victims are framed through “extra-judicial confessions” that were never made.

After ‘murdered’ Sham Lal’s statement led to the acquittal of four accused, they have now moved the high court seeking a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each.

The case is pending before the Division Bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain. It is scheduled to come up for further hearing on July 8.

In their petition against the state of Haryana, the director-general of police, Panipat’s superintendent of police and other respondents, Omkar and others have also sought initiation of departmental inquiry against the erring officials and registration of cases against them.

In December 2001, Sham Lal’s sister Ompati and her husband forwarded a complaint to the SHO of a police station alleging his abduction, the petitioners claimed. After an inquiry was conducted by DSP Baljit Singh, first information report number 502 under Section 364 and 34 of the IPC was registered at Panipat’s police station on July 6, 2002.

The prosecution, in its “concocted” story had claimed sarpanch Isham Singh of Balhera village produced Omkar on July 21, 2002, before sub-inspector Shamsher Singh.

The sarpanch’s statement on Omkar’s extra judicial confession before him was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC the same day. Omkar in his confession, as per the statement, had revealed he, along with Sham Lal, had gone to Meerut for “seeing a shop”. After consuming liquor, he pushed Sham Lal in the canal.

Subsequently, Omkar and Sham Lal’s wife Vinod Kumari were arrested for sharing a conspiracy to kill. During investigations, Section 302 of the IPC was added by the investigating officer and Sham Lal was shown to be murdered by Omkar and others.

The final report was submitted following which Omkar and another accused were charge-sheeted. In her examination, the complainant stated she was told by her brother’s neighbour that Omkar was having illicit relations with her sister-in-law.

But on August 11, 2004, Sham Lal appeared before the trial court and moved an application for discharging the accused. Sham Lal claimed he had shifted to some other place due to family dispute and the case was false.

Seeking compensation, the petitioners claimed Omkar remained in jail for 15 months and Vinod Kumari for five months.



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