'Police officials fabricating documents should be punished'

NEW DELHI MAY 22. If investigating officers deliberately perjure themselves during a trial or are proven to have fabricated documents, their testimony will stand discredited as will the documents they place as evidence, the High Court Bench hearing the appeals in the Parliament attack case heard today.

Shanti Bhushan, senior counsel appearing for Shaukat Hussain Guru, said that under the law, police officials who had given perjured testimony and fabricated documents in the trial of a case, which could lead to death sentence, were liable to prosecution to a sentence for life. Mr. Bhushan said that one example of fabricated documents in this case was the arrest memos. This was acknowledged in the judgment of the trial court.

Mr. Bhushan said that even if the trial judge had found independent evidence to convict those before him in order that even-handed justice was done, he should have directed a complaint to be filed against the Investigating Officers who have fabricated the documents and perjured themselves.

He said that the evidence of investigating officers was taken to be that of "disinterested'' witnesses, but this could not be the case "if it was found that they were forging documents and giving perjured testimony''. Courts relied on the testimony of the investigators to arrive at the truth. "When this trust is destroyed, how will the judges assess the value of documents and evidence?''

Mr.Bhushan also dealt with the confessional statement of Hussain, which he said was a palpably false document. The confession recorded on December 21 read exactly like his "disclosure statement" made on December 16. If the accused was volunteering a confession "then what stopped police from taking him before a judicial officer?" he asked.

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