NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Friday acquitted Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy of terror charges, but convicted him of cheating and forgery, and sentenced him to jail for the period which he has already spent in prison from September 2009. However, Ghandy will remain in jail as 14 other cases are pending against him in various courts of the country.
Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh held him guilty under provisions of the IPC, including sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with, 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery) and awarded him jail term which he has already undergone during adjudication of the case. “Ghandy is in custody since December 20, 2009 which is almost six years and six months. I, therefore, impose upon him a term of imprisonment already undergone by him,” the court said, while imposing a fine of Rs 40,000 on him.
Acquitting Ghandy of charges under UAPA, the court noted, “None of the evidence relied upon by prosecution have been found to be admissible in evidence by this court. The testimonies of prosecution witnesses suffer from infirmities.” “The recoveries made at the instance of the accused have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The disclosure statements of Kobad Ghandy cannot be read in evidence as the same had been made to a police officer. In the facts and circumstances of this case, there are reasonable doubts on the version of the prosecution on charge under sections 20 and 38 of UAPA,” the judge said.
The court held him guilty of using assumed names and fake identities and said, “It is true that prosecution has been able to prove that Ghandy was residing in Delhi in an assumed name and that he had in his possession forged documents.” “These circumstances do give rise to a grave suspicion that he wanted to avoid himself from being discovered. Suspicion, however grave it might be, cannot be equated with proof of the said fact. Material relied upon by prosecution to prove membership and association of Ghandy with said banned organisation is not reliable and admissible in evidence. Ghandy was residing in Delhi in assumed names with fake identities. However, gap between using fake identities and membership of the said banned organisation cannot be filled on the basis of suspicion,” the court said.
Besides Ghandy, the court also convicted Rajinder Kumar alias Arvind Joshi for the offence under several sections of the IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating). Kumar was also awarded jail term already undergone by him during the adjudication of the case and the court imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on him.
According to police, Ghandy was residing in Delhi with fake name and identity provided by Kumar, who himself was not using his real name or identity.