HYDERABAD: In an unusual hearing, four chain snatchers who robbed a gold chain from a woman were acquitted, but the goldsmith who received the chain, was convicted by a city court. The absence of ironclad evidence that could establish that the accused had indeed snatched the gold chain led to their acquittal.
The court, while delivering the verdict in connection with a February 2018 chain snatching case registered at Adibhatla police station, pointed out that the available evidence failed to connect the snatchers and the receiver to the offence. Additionally, both the victim and other prosecution witnesses failed to identify the snatchers.
During the trial, one of the witnesses deposed before the court that the offenders had worn masks and came from the opposite direction. Therefore the chance of identifying offenders was established to be remote. Apart from this, during the Test Identification Parade (TIP), the victim and the witnesses did not identify the offenders.
“This court is of the opinion that when the victim and the witness did not identify the offenders during TIP and later identified the offenders in the open court, this becomes a weak piece of evidence. Therefore, such evidence cannot become the basis of identification of the accused as offenders,” the court stated. Further, it was found that the statements of the offenders were recorded in the presence of police officers. Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act states that no confession made to a police officer shall be proved against a person accused of any offence.
While Section 26 of the Indian Evidence Act says that confession by the accused while in custody of police not to be proved against him. Thereafter, the court observed that the confessions recorded could not be proven against the offenders and set the four snatchers free.
While dealing with the goldsmith, the court stated that since the stolen property was in his possession, the burden lies on him to account for the possession.
But as he did not cite any evidence, and due to the absence of any rebuttal evidence, the court declared him of having received the goods, knowing them to be stolen property.
Though it acquitted him of robbery charges, it found him guilty of receiving stolen property.
“Though relevant charge is not framed, section 221 of IPC empowers court to convict an accused for an offence even if a charge is not framed,” stated the court, giving him imprisonment for one year.