New Delhi: Nearly 13 years after being sentenced to seven years in jail for stealing Rs 90, a man has been let off by the Delhi High Court saying the "possibility of mistaken identity cannot be ruled out".
Khalid Qureshi had moved the high court against an April 9, 2001 order of a trial court holding him guilty of robbing two men. The trial court had sentenced him to seven years of jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 10.
"It appears that the prosecution has not presented true facts. No independent public witness was associated at any stage of the investigation.
"Khalid Qureshi was not arrested at the spot. Rather he was apprehended after a gap of about one or two hours of the incident. Possibility of mistaken identity cannot be ruled out," a bench of Justice S P Garg said.
Allegations against Qureshi were that on January 30, 1999 he along with his associate Jeetu Chaudhary robbed Puran Singh and Jagannath Das of Rs 50 and 40 respectively.
Jeetu was acquitted by the trial court which was not challenged by police.
In his statement, complainant Puran Singh had said that on the day of the incident, he and Das were coming back from the market when they were robbed by two men.
He said the robbers ran into nearby forests following which the two victims asked the security guards at the house they worked at to accompany them into the forests, where they caught hold of Khalid.
Jeetu was arrested later on the basis of Khalid`s disclosure statement only to be acquitted after the trial.
The bench noted that "apparently, on the same set of evidence, the prosecution story was not accepted and it resulted in acquittal of co-accused Jeetu Chaudhary".
It also noted that Singh and Das gave differing statements about the events following the incident. It was also not clear when did the police enter the scene.
The prosecution witnesses also gave contradictory statements on the exact amount of cash recovered and the weapon used by the accused. Das was also not sure if the currency notes recovered from Khalid`s possession belonged to him, the bench said.
It also said that presence of both Singh and Das during the search of Khalid and Jeetu was also not certain.