New Delhi: A woman has been acquitted of bootlegging charges in a five-year-old case after all that the police could manage to produce before the court in name of evidence was an empty can.
The court absolved the North West Delhi resident Sunita of bootlegging charges, slapped on her on July 3, 2007, after she was allegedly found carrying equivalent to 20 bottles of hooch in a plastic canister, which was found to be "completely empty" when produced before the judge in 2010 during the trial.
"The chain of evidence against accused is not complete. Moreover, the case property consisting of plastic a can, when produced during the trial....Was completely empty and the same was found in broken condition which creates sufficient doubt in prosecution story benefit of which must go to the accused," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vidya Prakash said.
The judge, while acquitting Sunita, a resident of Lawrence Road here, noted in its order that neither the police had any clue about the source from where the alleged liquor was procured by the accused, nor the investigation officer (IO) had made sincere efforts to join any public witnesses.
"As such it could be said that the IO did not make sincere efforts to join public witnesses before starting the initial investigation of the present case and this failure on the part of the IO, in view of above said case laws, creates a very serious doubt in the prosecution version," the ACMM said.
According to the police, Sunita was found in possession of 20 bottles of illicit liquor without any permit on July 3, 2007 near Lawrence Road.
During the trial, a head constable of the Delhi police told the court that he was on patrolling duty on the day, when he saw Sunita carrying a plastic can on her shoulder.
On seeing him, Sunita tried to run away but was nabbed by him on suspicion, he said, adding that when he checked the can, it was found containing illegal liquor.
He said one bottle of liquor was taken out as sample and the remaining alcohol was poured in the can and both the containers were sealed.
The court, however, acquitted the woman and observed that when the said plastic can was produced before it on June 29, 2010, it was found to be broken from the bottom.