(1.) The appellants, two out of the six persons, convicted
under Sections 364A, 395, 412, 471, 120B IPC and the
appellant-Harpal Singh @ Chhota in Criminal Appeal No.2539 of
2014 also under Section 25 of the Arms Act, hereby impeach the affirmation of their conviction by the High Court by the common
impugned judgment and order dated 21.04.2014 rendered in a
batch of appeals. Though eight persons including the appellants
were indicted of the charges corresponding to the offences
proved, one Gurinder Singh @ Ginda died during trial and
Rupinder Singh was exonerated therefrom. Following their
conviction on the aforementioned charges, the appellants and
other similarly situated have been awarded sentences ranging
from one year to imprisonment for life and fine commensurate
therewith. It has been ordered that all the sentences would run
(2.) We have heard Mr. R. Basant, learned senior counsel for the appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 2539 of 2014, Mr.
Subromaniam Prasad, learned senior counsel for the appellant in
Criminal Appeal number 388 of 2015 and Mr. V. Madhukar,
learned counsel for the State.
(3.) The records divulge that on 11.01.2008 at about 7.45 p.m., while Inspector/SHO of Nurmahal Police station was on
patrol duty, he received a secret information that on 09.01.2008
at about 10/11 a.m., four persons had kidnapped one Gagan
Mahendru son of Subhash Mahendru, resident of Mota Singh
Nagar, Jalandhar in their Honda City car from near Preet Palace
at gun point, most probably for extracting ransom.
As the input disclosed offence under Sections 364, 364A/34 IPC r/w Sections 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act, the information was forwarded to the police station for its registration and consequential steps.
FIR No.10 dated 11.01.2008 under the afore-mentioned provisions of law, accordingly was registered with the Nurmahal Police Station and investigation was initiated, in course whereof, the statement of Gagan Kumar Mahendru as aforestated was recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. In his statement Gagan, who claimed to be the victim of kidnapping, stated that on 09.01.2008 Sukhmeet Singh @ Deputy, Gurinder Singh @ Ginda, Jasbir Singh @ Jassi etc. had kidnapped him, tied his hands and bundled him in the dickey of their car, with the dishonest intention of realising ransom and took him in the house of Rupinder Pal Singh from where he was released on 11.01.2008. He claimed to have identified the places where he had been kept captive and also the places to which he had been shifted in between.
The statements of the victim and his father Subhash Mahendru were also recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. On pursuing the investigation, the police also visited the place from where the victim had been kidnapped. The Lancer car bearing No.PB- 08-BA-4700 of the victim was found parked outside Hotel Taj, Jalandhar which was recovered and handed over to him. The accused persons were arrested between 16.01.2008 and 23.01.2008 and the following mobile phones were recovered from their possession:
On the basis of disclosure statements made by appellant Sukhbir Singh @ Deputy a sum of Rs.25 lakhs and a point .32 revolver belonging to the victim, Honda City Car bearing number HR 16F 7337 lying concealed, as well as two iron chains with which Gagan, the victim had been tied were recovered by the investigating agency.
On the same day, Gurinder Singh @ Ginda also suffered a disclosure statement following which an amount of Rs.11 lakhs was recovered from his room. Similar disclosure statements were also made by Jatinder Singh @ Jatin, Jasvir Singh @ Jassi and Harpal Singh @ Chhota, acting whereupon, huge amounts of cash were recovered together with a country made pistol with live cartridges.
On 22.01.2008 and 23.01.2008, as well disclosure statements were made by Harpreet Singh @ Happy and Surinder Singh @ Manga and pursuing the same, several lakhs of currency notes were recovered from the almirah/room of these persons along with one Qualis car bearing number PB 10 AY 4144 said to have been used by the appellant Sukhmeet Singh @ Deputy, in the commission of the crime.
Noticeably, the Honda City car recovered bore engine number 30125 765 and chassis number 377271 standing in the name of one Deepak Bhiwani, s/o Raj Singh Bhiwani, resident of Bhiwani and was of model 2007, as disclosed by the registration certificate found inside the vehicle. The documents recovered also disclosed that the insurance policy of the car stood in the name of Deepak Bhiwani issued on 18.11.2007. Further from the dicky of the car, a driving licence of the victim Gagan Kumar was also retrieved along with one small roll of tape, one scissor and one black colour rope.
Investigation divulged that the Hona City car did bear fake number HR 16 F 7337 which was stolen in the intervening night of 30.11.2007/01.12.2007 from Delhi and for which FIR number 255 dated 01.12.2007 was registered with Rajinder Nagar Police Station. Though the Engine number and the chassis number did match, the actual registration number was DL 4C AH 4492.
On the completion of the investigative drill, charge-sheet under Sections 364A, 392, 395, 397, 412, 465, 467, 468, 471, 474, 120B IPC and Sections 25/27 of the Arms Act was laid against the accused persons. As hereto before stated, Gurinder Singh @ Ginda died during the trial and the accused Rupinder Pal was acquitted by the trial court. The other co-accused Prabhijit Singh @ Sonu could not be arrested and was declared a proclaimed offender. The investigation however revealed that his mobile number 94636-12914 had been used in the commission of the offence.