Statement of co-accused during probe admissible as evidence, rules HC

Statement of co-accused during probe admissible as evidence, rules HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the statement of a co-accused during interrogation was admissible as evidence. Investigation was meant to find out the truth regarding the commission of an offence and information provided by an accused during his interrogation by the investigating officer could not be discarded out rightly, the Bench ruled.

The assertion by Justice HS Madaan came in a drugs case after the counsel for an accused seeking pre-arrest bail contended that the petitioner’s name cropped up in the statement of a co-accused, which was not admissible in evidence.

Justice Madaan ruled the contention was without merit. Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act clearly provided that when several persons were being tried jointly for the same offence and a confession made by one person affecting him and some others was proved, the court may take it into consideration against the maker and the other persons.

Justice Madaan added the Section dealt with value of confession made by one accused when several accused were being tried together. “When such confession affects the maker as well as other persons, the natural inference is that if such confession, if proved, can be relied upon in trial, it cannot be ignored during the investigation, which is a pre-trial stage.” Justice Madaan added.

The matter was brought to Justice Madaan’s notice after the accused sought pre-arrest bail in a case registered atthe Sadar police station at Ratia in Fatehabad districton April 22 for offencesunder the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Justice Madaan added pre-arrest bail was a discretionary equitable relief not to be granted in routine, but in exceptional circumstances. It was to be granted to persons, who may be involved in false criminal cases on account of political or such like reasons, to save them from harassment and inconvenience. It was not to act as a shield for the criminals to provide protective cover to them from arrest and interrogation by the police.

Turning down the plea, Justice Madaan added the petitioner’s custodial interrogation was required for complete and effective investigation to find out about transactions regarding the supply of contraband to various persons, alone or in company of other criminals. “This is necessary to bust the racket of drug peddling,” the Bench concluded.

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