Indore: Setting aside a lower court’s order, Sessions Court on Tuesday acquitted five persons accused of loan fraud involving fake gold. Additional sessions judge Umesh Kumar Shrivastava accepted the criminal review appeal of the accused and absolved them.

The accused included Pratibha Jagtap, Ritesh Mathe, Sanjeev Soni, Ravindra Soni and Raju Soni. The accused had taken loan of Rs 35 lakh from a private finance company by mortgaging gold in 2010. When the borrowers did not pay back, the company went to auction the mortgaged gold only to find it as fake.

Resultantly, the company filed a complaint with Chhoti Gwaltoli police in 2013 who filed and FIR under Section 420 and 120 of IPC. A local court held all the persons named in the FIR guilty and awarded three years in prison and also slapped a penalty of Rs 10,000 on each of them.

“The main base of conviction was a certification by a valuator that the yellow metal was not gold,” said Mahendra Maurya, counsel of the accused. Challenging the court’s order, the convicts moved Sessions Court stating that they had mortgaged the pure gold and not fake one to avail the loan.

The accused’s counsel told Sessions Court that the company had got the gold valued at the time of mortgage and then kept in locker. “When the locker was opened for selling the gold, the accused were not present there. So technically, they can’t confirm that it was the same gold that they had mortgaged,” Maurya told the court. The accused suspected that the gold was changed by some staff of the company. After hearing both the parties in the case, the Sessions Court acquitted the accused.

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