It seems all is not well with the criminal justice system of the country.
Stating that two trained Army personnel have been skewed by criminal justice system, a law student has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking their intervention into the matter.
Deeya Barik, a 5th year student of the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, in her recent letter to Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh said a case has been “framed against two Army personnel including an officer and who are languishing in jail (Jalpaiguri) for last 10 months”.
Barik in her letter said, “I seek your blessing and indulgence in having the politico-smuggling case investigated by central government authorities, ensure the guilty bought to books and innocent Army personnel be released at the earliest.”
Informing that on September 14, 2018, Lt Col Pawan Brahma (from Assam) and Hav Dasrath Singh of the Indian Army along with three police personnel were arrested by West Bengal Police for illegal possession of smuggled gold bars.
A complaint and FIR were filed on September 14, 2018 by a police officer based on a secret information about the incident which took place on September 10, 2018 at Jaigoan Outpost under Hasimara police station in West Bengal.
In para 3 of the FIR, the police officer clearly mentioned that SI Satyendra Nath Roy recovered the car in question (RJ14C 2846) from the custody of Army personnel on September 10, 2018.
“Thereafter police officers SI Kamalendra Nath, SDPO Aniruddha Thakur and SI Satyendra Nath Roy searched the car and found 25 kg smuggled gold bars.
“Even in the forwarding letter to ACJM Alipurduar Court by the IO of West Bengal Police in para 2, it is mentioned that the Army personnel came to the police station and handed over the car bearing registration No RJ14C 2846 to the police” on September 10, 2018.
“The State police kept the car without any seizure list in their custody and allowed the Army personnel to leave for their barracks,” the letter said.
Barik alleged that as per the source, “all the accused hatched out criminal conspiracy to obtain illegal gratification in lieu of saving the said smugglers from lawful action under the law of land”.
The source neither mentioned about the Army personnel’s involvement about the illegal gratification nor criminal conspiracy.
Nor these Army personnel had any jurisdiction/powers in the police station to let off the smugglers from the lawful action.
“The Army personnel handed over the car in question to State police authorities,” said Barik.
As per law the Army personnel do not have the right or powers to arrest or seize but shall report and handover the information and apprehended person/article to the State police.
“Hence section 409 of IPC is not applicable to the Army personnel,” she added.
In the seizure memo produced of West Bengal police, it is seen that the smuggled gold bars were recovered from the Army personnel on September 14, 2018, four days after the incident from Jaigaon OP under Hasimara PS which is neither the habitat nor working place of the Army personnel.
She questioned, “How the Army personnel voluntarily reached the Jaigaon OP along with the smuggled gold bars from the Army barracks at Hasimara after four days?”
“Was it a trap or conspiracy by State authorities?”
The State Police has neither investigated nor highlighted this serious gap about the happenings between September 10 to September 14, 2018, Barik claimed.
She alleged, “The state investigation agency have neither investigated the incident in detail nor have produced any digital or physical evidences like CDR of Army personnel, CCTV footage of PS Jaigaon, route and gate of Army Station Hasimara and movement details of Army car used by Army personnel” on September 10 and 14 to the Ld Court Jalpaiguri.
Barik further claimed, “In this case the State police cannot justify the arrest and detention of such trained Central govt personnel in jail for such a long time.”
Stating that “all Army personnel dealing with State police/agencies should be imparted with basic legal training,” the law student has sought the central government’s justice towards the jailed army personnel.
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