A court here acquitted nine persons in a fake appointment case registered by the Vigilance Organization Kashmir 18 years ago.
The court of Special Judge Anti-Corruption Srinagar, R N Watal, acquitted nine persons including a former Zonal Education Officer Nishat, a senior assistant and seven lady teachers in the case.
The charge-sheet filed by VOK had alleged that the seven teachers were appointed in 1999 on the basis of fake appointment orders.
While acquitting the accused, the court attributed the failure to prove the fake appointments to faulty investigation of the Vigilance and casual approach of the prosecution while pursuing the case in the court.
“I am principally convinced that mischief has been done by the accused but there is nothing on the file in the shape of cogent and clinching evidence to establish and substantiate the same,” Watal said, observing the Investigating officer has done the investigation in casual way and prosecution has not taken pains to prove the record in the court as per evidentiary jurisprudence.
Underscoring that the prosecution has failed to prove the charge against the accused beyond doubt, the court said: “The accused deserve to be acquitted by extending them the benefit of doubt”.
Resultantly the court said, the charge sheet is dismissed and the accused are acquitted of the charges.
Miffed over the “mechanical approach” over the faulty investigation, the court recorded its anguish regarding the inadequacy of investigation, the failure on behalf of the IO to discharge the responsibility and the prosecutor who conducted the trial of the case before the court with a “clandestine mission” to keep loopholes in the investigation and casually pursue the case during trial to benefit the accused ultimately.
“It is an exhibition of low standard of professionalism unbecoming of officials of prime investigating agency entrusted with conducting the investigation and trial mainly in corruption cases, and is highly deplorable,” the court said, while disposing of the case.
The charge sheet owes its origin to complaint moved by G M Mir, the then Joint Director School Education to SSP Vigilance Organization on 5 February 1999 wherein he alleged that the Directorate had received an information with regarding to the fake appointments of seven lady teachers working in Zone Nishat in District Srinagar.
As per the preliminary investigation it was been established that the seven lady teachers managed their entry in Education Department fraudulently and illegally in convenience with some vested interests. The VOK was requested to register a case against the main culprits who manipulated this fraud of illegal appointments.
On the basis of this information the VOK registered a case( FIR No. 16/1999) under section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act and started investigation. During investigation the service books of the lady teachers were seized and no orders viz-a-viz their appointment/ transfer order/ adjustment were found in the office.
From the perusal of the service books, the Vigilance found that the lady teachers were shown to have adjusted in Kangan and Ganderbal Zone and thereafter shown to have been transferred to Nishat Zone.
During investigation ZEOs of Kangan, Ganderbal and Srinagar disclosed that the lady teachers were neither posted in these zones nor were paid salaries from these zones.
The Probe by VOK revealed that although the service books of these teachers reflected their transfer from one zone to another and from school to another, there were no orders to that effect.
Vide order 18-08-2005 the accused were charge sheeted for the commission of offence under prevention of Corruption Act and under sections 120-B, 420,467, 468,471 and 201 of Ranbir Penal Code( RPC).
One of the accused Showkat Ahmad had died during the investigation and proceedings against him were abated. To prove the charge against accused for aforementioned sections, prosecution produced sixteen witnesses.
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