Acquittals in 31-yr-old case: Victim could not identify ‘robbers’

A sessions court, on Tuesday, acquitted two men in a 31-year-old case of robbery at gunpoint as the complainant and his friend, who was present at the spot, could not identify them in court.

The men John D’souza, 58, and Baldin Miranda, 60, had absconded before the trial could begin in the case. The court had framed charges against their two co-accused who were later acquitted. The trial against D’souza and Miranda had been separated and was dormant, till they were arrested in 2019 after non-bailable warrants were issued against them.

The court noted that, as per the prosecution’s report, some witnesses were dead and some were not traceable for their evidence to be recorded before the court.

During the trial, the victim of the robbery could not identify the accused in court, nor could his friend who was beside him at the time. The duo, though, had stated regarding the incident in their testimony.

Judge SB Agarwal said, in his judgment, that the identity of the accused is doubtful and there is no evidence that the accused were the same robbers who had robbed the informant and his friend.

In June, 1988, at the instance of Miranda, the police had allegedly recovered the gold ring, chain and wrist watch robbed by the accused. These articles were seized and panchnamas were made. However, the prosecution could not prove the seizures, as the concerned witness in connection with the seizure could not be examined. The court said that recovery of such articles at the instance of the accused is a strong circumstance to prove his involvement in the alleged offence, but the non-examination of an independent witness to prove the seizure of articles makes the prosecution case on their recovery doubtful.

On January 30, 1988, at 9.30pm, Prakash Makwana and his friend Deepak Panchal had gone to smoke a cigarette at a pan shop, when men armed with a revolver and choppers had robbed them of gold and cash of around Rs 14,000 and then fled in a taxi.

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