A city magistrate court has held that two women who were arrested "merely on suspicion" cannot be considered the accused in a case where burkha-clad individuals were seen swapping gold jewellery with lighter ones in CCTV footage of a jewellery store while posing as customers.
Lack of Convincing Evidence
The complaint was filed by Deepak Rathod, the owner of the store in Mazgaon, against Sana Shaikh, 39, and her relative Sadaf Shaikh, 40. During his testimony, Rathod expressed his suspicion towards the women, stating that they had been visiting his store for 1.5 years. On October 24, 2020, he claimed that the women had visited the store to view finger rings for men and women.
After discovering that a 9.4-gram ring had been replaced with one weighing 1.4 grams, Rathod reviewed the CCTV footage, which revealed the women exchanging the rings. Additionally, upon rechecking the stocks, he found a cumulative difference in the weight of gold ornaments by 1.76 grams.
Lack of Witness Identification and Investigation Testimony
The court, in its judgment, highlighted the prosecution's reliance on only two witnesses—the store owner and his employee, with the latter testifying in favor of the owner due to their professional relationship. The court noted that both witnesses failed to positively identify the accused women from the CCTV footage, as the faces of the burkha-clad individuals were covered. Metropolitan Magistrate PI Mokashi stated in the order that the arrest was made "merely on suspicion."
Insufficient Evidence and Reasonable Doubt
The court further criticized the prosecution for failing to present the investigating officer as a witness, who could have provided essential insights from the investigation. Consequently, the court ruled that the case had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.