New Delhi: An auto-rickshaw driver, arrested for acting as a tout and alluring passengers at the domestic airport here, has been convicted by a Delhi court which said it was a common practice that "several unscrupulous auto and cab drivers" allure flyers at the airport.
Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma convicted Vinod Singh, a south-west Delhi resident, for the offence of trying to allure and harass people under the Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Act, 2010.
"Prosecution has firmly established its case against the accused (Singh)... This court is of the view that he committed the offence under Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourist Act, 2010 and he is accordingly convicted for the same," the magistrate, who will hear arguments on quantum of sentence later in the week, said.
The maximum punishment under the Act is one year`s imprisonment.
While convicting Singh, the court rejected his contention that police should not be believed because the investigating officer was the complainant himself.
The magistrate said the law does not prevent a policeman from becoming a complainant or a competent witness.
"A policeman is as competent a witness as any other person and the testimony of policeman is reliable and trustworthy and plausible explanation is given by the police for not making any public person as witness. The testimony can be relied upon," the court said.
According to the prosecution, on January 13, 2013, near the parking zone of a terminal of the domestic airport here, Singh was found trying to lure passengers on the pretext of cheap hotels and low fare traveling in the city which caused harassment to passengers and left them annoyed.
A head constable, who was on duty at the airport, noticed Singh and asked him to stop troubling passengers.
When he did not pay heed, the policeman arrested him under section 4 of the Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Act, 2010.
During the trial, Singh claimed he was falsely implicated and his counsel contended there was no public witness or harassed passenger who could support the case.
The court rejected this contention saying "it is not very uncommon that public persons are generally reluctant to join as a witness and appear before the court as a witness."