New Delhi: A woman, facing trial for five years on charges of possessing two cartons of illicit liquor bottles, has been acquitted by a Delhi court which pulled up the police for not probing the case properly and said "tampering" with the case property cannot be ruled out.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Neeraj Gaur acquitted Saroj, who was accused of carrying two cartons, containing 11 bottles each, of country-made liquor in 2009, saying the prosecution`s case was "doubtful".
"The prosecution case has become doubtful. Giving the accused a benefit of doubt, I hereby acquit Saroj of the charges framed against her," the judge said in the order.
"The case property and the accused remained in the control of police officials till the case property was deposited in the `malkhana`. Hence, tampering with the case property cannot be ruled out as the seal remained all along with the police officials.
"No effort whatsoever has been made by the prosecution to find any clue about the source from where the case property (liquor bottles) was arranged.... At least some efforts should have been made by the police to interrogate the accused and conduct requisite investigation to know as to from where the accused arranged the same," the order reads.
According to the prosecution, the two cartons of illicit liquor bottles were recovered from Saroj from near a hospital on Lawrence Road in north Delhi in June 2009.
"She had two cardboard boxes containing 11?11 bottles of `Mafia Masaledar` country-made liquor," it said, adding that Saroj committed an offence punishable under the Punjab Excise Act as she was not having any licence or permit for carrying the alcohol.
The court, however, rejected the contention of the police, holding that there were lapses in the probe conducted by the investigating agency. Neither any public witness nor any document related to the seal on the liquor bottles was produced in the court, it added.
During the trial, Saroj had pleaded innocence and claimed that she had been falsely implicated in the case.