Mumbai: Terming the Gujarat Police “villains,” Bombay High Court convicted five police officers of the force for destroying evidence. The HC also slammed the Gujarat Police for conducting a “dishonest and callous” investigation in the case.
A Division Bench presided over by Justice Vijaya Tahilramani and Justice Mridula Bhatkar heard the appeal filed by CBI that challenged the acquittal of five policemen by a sessions court.
In its 430-page verdict, the Bench said, “In this case, we need to look through the evidence, sift the evidence minutely and carefully, as the truth lies beyond the layers of omissions and contradictions and dishonest, callous investigation. The texture of evidence is different due to the acts of omission by the Investigating Officers who were subsequently made accused which speaks in volumes about the nature of the case and the investigation.”
After scrutinising the evidence, the Bench slammed the Gujarat police saying, “We don’t require any proof to infer that police from Limkheda Police Station wanted to suppress the fact of rape committed on Bilkis.”
The Bench noted that initially the Limkheda police investigated the case and manipulated the evidence. The Bench noted that the police did not conducted post-mortem of the dead bodies and also that they did not took Bilkis to the spot of incident for probe.
The Bench said, “Surprisingly, though Bilkis was available in Limkheda Police Station itself on March 4 and March 5, 2002, the police at Limkheda did not take her to the spot, to identify the correct spot. This also speaks volumes about the tainted investigation.”
The Bench went to the extent of terming the Gujarat police as “villains.”
The Bench said, “Earlier investigation has played the role of villain in this case. The investigation was tainted.” They further added, “The obvious reason is the names of 12 accused persons were disclosed by Bilkis in her statement. This silence does not speak of negligence or inertness but apparent dishonesty and callousness.”