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Court rejects plea to charge woman for posing as Congress leader

Last Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 17:05

New Delhi: A court here has rejected Delhi Police`s plea to frame charges against a woman who along with her husband and one other person was accused of approaching the US Embassy for visas by impersonating as Congress leaders.

The complaint was filed before the police by the personal secretary of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi alleging that some persons had contacted the US Embassy by falsely claiming to be representatives of Congress party and its chief Sonia Gandhi for visas in December 2006.

The police approached the sessions court challenging the order of a magistrate who had discharged Sapna Arora and Rajiv Arora of the charge of cheating by impersonating.

The magistrate, however, had put on trial the third accused and Sapna`s husband, Manoj Kumar Arora, for offence of cheating by impersonating.
The magistrate had discharged Sapna and Rajiv saying that there was no sufficient evidence to proceed against them.

The police challenged the trial court`s order acquitting them on the grounds that recovery of mobile/SIM number attributed to Sapna was sufficient to raise suspicion against her that she had impersonated as Dalmia.

It said the magistrate had "failed to appreciate mere suspicion alone against the accused was sufficient to warrant framing of charge against her along with her husband Manoj".

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma upheld the trial court`s order of discharging the two accused in the case and dismissed the police`s plea saying there was no "infirmity and illegality" in the magistrate`s order.

"Mere fact of seizure of the mobile phone/SIM no. From the respondent/accused (Sapna) does not lead to presumption that it was she who had called the US Embassy or impersonated herself as Archana Dalmia (Secretary of AICC).

"None of the prosecution witnesses have implicated her in any manner in the entire episode so much so that even Babu Saheb Raja Rao Wakchure (witness) in his statement under section 161 CrPC implicates only her husband for impersonation and deception," the court said.

It said there is nothing in the evidence of witnesses that at any point of time Sapna was accompanying her husband.

"There is no recording of the alleged calls to the US
Embassy and there is no evidence which could possibly identify the voice of the respondent (Sapna) as the voice of the lady who had impersonated herself as Archana Dalmia," it said.

The court, however, said although an iota of suspicion is there but it is prima facie not based on any admissible, cogent or reliable evidence.

According to the police, on December 10, 2006, Kanishka Singh, personal secretary of Rahul Gandhi, had lodged a complaint that on December 8, 2006, he had received a call from the US Embassy regarding a confirmed appointment for Rahul in the Embassy.

On inquirying, Singh came to know that the appointment had been fixed through one Madhavan purportedly from Sonia Gandhi`s office and Dalmia, police had said.

Police said that when Singh contacted the office of Sonia Gandhi and AICC, he found out that no one there was in touch with the US Embassy and that some persons had falsely represented themselves on behalf of Congress party and office of Gandhi for US visas.

During investigation, call details of two numbers were obtained and police apprehended Manoj and his wife Sapna who told the investigators that they had impersonated as Congress leaders to get VIP treatment, the police had said.

It was also revealed during the probe that accused Rajiv was roped in to send an e?mail to the US Embassy using Manoj`s computers installed in his office at Noida, they had said.

The police had said one Babu Saheb Raja Rao Wakchure, who is the witness in the case, had stated Manoj had given him a false assurance that he would be able to sort out the problem of getting US visa for his wife in the Embassy with his connection in the office of Sonia Gandhi.

First Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 17:04
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