Custodial interrogation of accused necessary, says Punjab and Haryana High Court - ECAS Punjab

Custodial interrogation of accused necessary, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8

Just 10 days after the illicit liquor tragedy led to nearly 130 deaths, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has referred to the incident before making it clear that custodial interrogation of an accused in the spurious liquor case was a must.

Advocate moves court seeking CBI probe

An advocate has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a CBI probe into the illicit liquor tragedy. Advocate Parampreet S Bajwa has asked for a probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This, the petitioner-advocate contended, was required for a fair and impartial investigation.

Justice Deepak Sibal of the High Court made this clear while turning down the anticipatory bail plea of an 18-year-old accused from whose house 100-litre illicit liquor was allegedly recovered.

Taking up the matter through video-conferencing following the Covid outbreak, Justice Sibal asserted that illicit liquor was recovered from the petitioner's house. On seeing a police party, he allegedly evaded arrest by fleeing from there. Besides, the petitioner was facing a trial in another case under provisions of the Excise Act. He allegedly committed the present offence while on bail in the other case.

"In view of the above as also in light of the recent incidents in the state of Punjab, in which over 130 persons have died due to consumption of illicit liquor, the petitioner's custodial interrogation is found to be necessary. Resultantly, the present is not considered a fit case for the grant of anticipatory bail," Justice Sibal asserted while dismissing the plea.

The accused, Baljit Singh, had moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR registered under provisions of the Punjab Excise Act at the Sidhwan Bet police station in Jagraon tehsil of Ludhiana district.

The prosecution's case was that police officials of the Jagraon narcotics cell were present at a village bus stand on June 11 when they received a tip-off that the petitioner was habitual of distilling illicit liquor. If a raid was conducted at his house, heavy quantity of illicit liquor could be recovered. The FIR was registered on the basis of this information and a

raid was conducted at the petitioner's house.

The prosecution said the drum containing 100-litre illicit liquor was taken into possession and deposited at the police storehouse. The excise inspector concerned tested the contents and found it to be illicit liquor. Opposing the bail plea, the state counsel said the petitioner's conduct of fleeing from the spot was required to be taken into consideration for dismissing the present petition.

The petitioner's counsel, on the other hand, referred to the tip-off which formed the basis of the FIR to say that the person alleged to be manufacturing and selling illicit liquor was aged around 30-32. The petitioner, aged 18, could not be the accused person against whom the tip-off was received by the police, the counsel said.

from The Tribune

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