Assam

Assam: 25 persons convicted in Doctor’s Lynching case

Jorhat- 25 persons convicted in Doctor’s Lynching case At a time, when the probing capabilities of State Police are under serious question, Jorhat police led by DIG Dr. G V Siva Prasad through an epoch making investigation ensured conviction of 25 persons in the infamous mob lynching of Teok Tea Estate owned by Amalgamated Plantations Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of TATAs .

Today, Robin Phukan, District and Sessions Judge of Jorhat, pronounced the much awaited judgment in Teok PS case No. 434/2019 and convicted all the 25 persons under sections 302, 342, 147, 148, 149, 353 IPC read with 1 Sec. 4 of The Assam Medicare Service Persons & Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence & Damage to Property) Act, 2011. As the minimum punishment in cases of Section 302 is life imprisonment, it is believed that the case is going to set an unparallel record in the Criminal Justice Administration.

The actual sentence would be pronounced on Monday, 19th October, 2020 The gruesome incident that shattered the conscience of civil society happened on 31st August, 2019, in which Dr. Deben Dutta, Senior Medical Officer of Dispensary of Teok Tea Estate was murdered by an irate mob. Condemnations poured in not only from medical fraternity all over India but also series of demonstrations took place across the state demanding stringent action against the perpetrators.

At this backdrop, the Special Investigation Team headed by Dr. Siva Prasad took up the challenge. Well acclaimed in Assam police for his unique investigation skills, legal know-how and procedural perfection, Dr. Prasad concluded the investigation in 21 days and on the 22nd Day, an elaborate 602 pages chargesheet was filed in the district courts of Jorhat.

 As learnt from various sources in police, it turned out to be a text book case for Assam Police. In such a short span of time, the SIT collected un-impeachable evidence against all the accused, organized the evidence in a systematic manner and presented before the court.

Apart from what was stated by witnesses before police, it has many eye witnesses account recorded before the magistrate under section 164 CrPC, it has a successful Test Identification Parade, Forensic evidence, Finger print matching, Serological tests and DNA analysis too.

Altogether 60 witnesses and 424 documents were quoted in the chargesheet. It is the first case in the country wherein “Witness Identity Concealment” approach was successfully adopted in pursuance of Supreme Court judgment on 5th Dec, 2018 in Mahendra Chawla’s case. During the trial, one accused died in custody and hence judgment against him was kept on abeyance.

Actual investigation was concluded in just 9 days and we had to wait for few more days to obtain forensic reports; every day, the field investigation was conducted till late in the evening and in the nights DIG sir used to personally organize the evidence and prepared required documentation, said Dipankar Gogoi, Officer-in-Charge of Teok Police Station.

It’s a wonderful learning to work with DIG Siva Prasad sir and the experience gained in this case helped us to successfully crack two more sensational cases in Jorhat this year, claimed Prakash Sonowal, the additional SP of Jorhat. The trial of the case was also well coordinated by Jorhat police. Government of Assam appointed Durga Prasad Jaiswal of Golaghat Bar as Special Public Prosecutor.

Jaiswal worked closely with Dr. Siva Prasad earlier in Karbi Anglong district during the trial of sensational Jhankar Saikia’s lynching in the year 2013, which was till then proceeding in snail’s pace. The trail got required impetus only in late 2018 after appointment of Jaiswal as Special PP on recommendation of Dr. Siva Prasad. The case ended in life conviction of 12 no.s of accused. The coordination achieved by the duo in Jhankar Saikia’s case was successfully replicated in Teok case also.

Had the COVID-19 lockdown been not there, the trail would have completed within 6 months, said Durga Prasad Jaiswal, who could add another feather in his cap with successful conviction of accused in this case too. Incidentally Dr. Siva Prasad also led the investigation of the most sensational Abhi-Neel lynching case under Dokmoka police station as the then Superintendent of Police, Karbi Anglong.

The investigation was completed in record time with elaborate documentation and evidence. The trial of the case is being held at Nagaon courts. It is dragged for the reasons beyond our control, but I m confident that the case would certainly end in conviction of more people than Teok case, asserted Siva Prasad.

He thanked Vaibhav Nimbalkar, the then SP Jorhat, Prakash Sonowal, Addl SP(HQ) Jorhat and Dipankar Gogoi, OC of Teok Police Station, who were the members of SIT for having working hard to conclude the case in record time. With faster disposal of cases by police and courts, deterrence can be achieved effectively, claimed Siva Prasad.

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