Jamia Teachers’ report reveals framing of several innocents

The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association has in its latest report titled “Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell” chronicled 16 cases in which most of those arrested were accused of being operatives and agents of various terrorist organisations, only to be acquitted later of all charges by the courts. In some of these cases the courts even held the police officers responsible for fabricating evidence to frame the accused.

The JTSA, which had earlier released two reports, “Encounter at Batla House: Unanswered Questions (2009)” and “The Case that Never Was: The ‘SIMI’ Trial of Jaipur (2012)”, has in its third report, an advance copy of which was made available to The Hindu, noted how “the acquittals were not simply for want of evidence”.

The report charges that “what judgment after judgment comments on is the manner in which the so-called evidence provided by the police and the prosecution was tampered with and fabricated, how story after story as presented by the prosecution was unreliable, incredulous and concocted”.

It said while “fabrication of evidence is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code”, there were “instances where the courts clearly indict the Special Cell for framing innocents; reprimand them for violating due process and fabricating evidence; order a CBI probe against the Special Cell, as well as direct the filing of FIR and the initiation of departmental enquiries against them”.

In the Dhaula Kuan fake encounter case, the report said, the court was of the opinion that “there cannot be any more serious or grave crime than a police officer framing an innocent citizen in a false criminal case. Such tendency in the police officers should not be viewed or dealt with lightly but needs to be curbed with a stern hand”.

In another case, while acquitting an alleged terrorist of the People’s Liberation Army in Manipur, the court concluded that “the police got him targeted to become a victim of this crime”.

Similarly, the report delves into how the CBI, while investigating the arrest of alleged operatives of Al Badr by the Special Cell, had sought “legal action against Sub-Inspectors Vinay Tyagi, Subhash Vats and Ravinder Tyagi” for fabrication of evidence.

As for action against the named police personnel, the report said: “…not a single officer in any of the operations described here has suffered criminal proceedings for the framing of innocents”.

On the contrary, it noted, adverse observations, strictures and censures from the courts did not also come in the way of “promotions, gallantry awards and President’s medals” to such police personnel.

“Even after the National Human Rights Commission indicted ACP Sanjeev Yadav for staging an encounter in Sonia Vihar in 2006, he continues to head probes as crucial and sensitive as the attack on the Israeli diplomat in Delhi,” the report pointed out.

The report also questioned the manner in which the low rate of conviction in such cases – a mere 30 per cent – was attributed to “inefficiency, to bad investigating skills or poor infrastructure” and held that a closer look reveals “an uncanny, almost scripted pattern in the cases”.

As for the men who were acquitted, the report notes that while “they all unjustly suffered the most harrowing of experiences for varying lengths of time, their businesses were destroyed, family members underwent humiliation and trauma of being associated with ‘terrorists’, children had to abandon their studies and the normality of everyday life, parents passed away in grief and despair, no apology, no rehabilitation has come their way”.

These cases, the report insists, are only the “proverbial tip of the ice berg, and simply indicative of the extent of the malaise affecting our policing and criminal justice system”.

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