Prafulla C. Pant, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal, preferred under section 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (for short Cr.P.C.), is directed against the judgment and order dated 13.07.2000, passed by Learned Sessions Judge Nainital, in Sessions Trial No. 81 of 2000, and Sessions Trial No. 82 of 2000, whereby the accused/appellants Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh and Udai Raj Goswami have been convicted under section 4/25 of Arms Act, and each one of them has been sentenced to the imprisonment already undergone during the trial. Heard learned counsel for the appellants, and learned counsel for the State, and perused the lower court record.
(2.) PROSECUTION story, in brief, is that PW1 Naresh Kumar Aggarwal is uncle of PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal. On 24.01.2000 at about 7.00 p.m., Neeraj Aggarwal (PW2) is said to have been kidnapped from Bareilly Road, Haldwani, at about 8.30 p.m. On the same day, PW1 Naresh Kumar Aggarwal received a phone call from the miscreants that PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal is in their custody and ' 6 lacs be paid as ransom for release of the kidnapped boy. At about 10 p.m., on the very day (24.01.2000) First Information Report (Ex -A1) was lodged at Police Station Haldwani, on the basis of which, Crime No. 90 of 2000, was registered in respect of offence punishable under section 364A of I.P.C., against unknown accused. Investigation was taken up by PW5 Sub Inspector Rajesh Bhartiya who alongwith other police personnel including PW4 Sub Inspector K.P. Singh, while searching for the kidnapped boy, he came to know from secret informer on 25.01.2000, that he had seen the boy going in a scooter with accused/appellant Guru Charan Singh and Udai Raj Goswami. On this, the police party reached in the house of accused/appellant Guru Charan Singh in Dahariya, and got released the kidnapped boy (PW2) Neeraj Aggarwal. Another accused Udai Raj Goswami (appellant No. 2) was also in the house, and both the accused were arrested. At the time of arrest, the police party allegedly recovered one knife of blade of unauthorized length from each of the accused/appellants for which they had no license. As such, Crime No. 91 of 2000 and 92 of 2000, were registered, relating to offence punishable under section 4/25 of Arms Act, against accused/appellant Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh and accused/appellant Udai Raj Goswami respectively. Check First Information Report (Ex -A10) was prepared at the Police Station and investigation of these two cases was given to Sub Inspector Shyam Singh. In all the three cases i.e. one relating to offence 364A of I.P.C. and two relating to section 4/25 of Arms Act, after investigation charge sheets were filed. All the three cases were committed to the court of Sessions for trial. The case relating to 364A of I.P.C., was tried in the form of Sessions Trial No. 80 of 2000, and the one relating to section 4/25 of Arms Act, against accused Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh was tried as Sessions Trial No. 81 of 2000, and one against Udai Raj Goswami relating to offence punishable under section 4/25 of Arms Act was tried as Sessions Trial No. 82 of 2000. All the cases were consolidated. Charge was framed by learned Sessions Judge, Nainital, on 08.05.2000, in respect of offence punishable under section 364A of I.P.C., and separate charge in respect of offence punishable under section 4/25 of Arms Act against the two accused separately. Both the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. On this prosecution got examined PW1 Naresh Kumar Aggarwal (informant, declared hostile), PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal (kidnapped boy, declared hostile), PW3 Bijendra Singh Bisht (declared hostile), PW4 Sub Inspector Kiran Pal Singh and PW5 Sub Inspector Rajesh Bhartiya. The oral and documentary evidence was put to the accused under section 313 of Cr.P.C., in reply to which the accused/appellants pleaded that they have been falsely implicated in the case. However, no evidence in defence was adduced. After hearing the parties, the trial court found that the prosecution could not prove the charge of offence punishable under section 364A of I.P.C., and acquitted both the accused from said charge. However, the trial court held that prosecution has successfully proved charge of offence punishable under section 4/25 of Arms Act against the accused/appellants Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh and Udai Raj Goswami, and convicted them accordingly. After hearing on sentence each one of them namely Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh and Udai Raj Goswami was sentenced to the imprisonment already undergone. Aggrieved by said judgment and order dated 13.07.2000, passed by Learned Sessions Judge Nainital, in Sessions Trial No. 81 of 2000, and Sessions Trial No. 82 of 2000, this appeal is preferred by the convicts challenging the conviction and sentence recorded by the trial court in respect of offence punishable under section 4/25 of Arms Act. Learned counsel for the appellants argued before this Court that the alleged recovery of the knives have been shown from the appellants at the time of their arrest and recovery of the PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal from the house of accused/appellant Guru Charan Singh @ Guru Bachan Singh. It is further argued that the trial court has disbelieved the prosecution case relating to recovery of PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal from the house of Guru Charan Singh in the manner suggested by prosecution as neither PW1 Naresh Kumar Aggarwal, nor PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal, nor PW3 Bijendra Singh Bishthas supported the prosecution case. It is contended that when the alleged recovery and the manner in which the accused are arrested itself it is disbelieved, recovery of knives from them at the time of their arrest when Neeraj Aggarwal (PW2) said to have been made also becomes seriously doubtful. I agree with the argument advanced on behalf of the appellants that since all the three witnesses of fact namely PW1 Naresh Kumar Aggarwal, PW2 Neeraj Aggarwal and PW3 Bijendra Singh Bisht have turned hostile and did not support the prosecution case in respect of the kidnapping and recovery of kidnapped boy and the arrest shown by the Investigating Officer, the story of recovery of knives at the time of arrest of accused also appears to be doubtful.
(3.) APART from the above, in the arrest memo, recovery has been shown of the knives at Dahariya, but Investigating Officer has shown the recovery from Pipal Pokhara. As such, on this ground, also the alleged recovery of knives from the accused/appellants is further doubtful.;