Life imprisonment awarded to one accused in Amandeep murder case

JAMMU, Aug 10: After 11 years of trial, 2nd Additional Sessions Judge Jammu Virender Singh Bhou today awarded life imprisonment to Royal Singh, one of the accused in the much-publicised Amandeep murder case.
However, the court acquitted Manohar Singh, the then SSP Jammu, Sultan Mehmood Mirza, the then SHO, Sarwar Hussain Bukhari, the then Ballastic Expert, Nagar Singh, Jagar Singh and Rakesh Singh because of inept handling of investigation and passed strictures against the investigators.
“The instant criminal challan trial whereof continued for more than 10 years in this court and ultimately culminates with the pronouncement of this judgment, demonstrates various factors, which influence and serve as impediment in the fair administration of criminal justice with promptitude, thus, afflicting the justice”, the Judge said, adding “it needs no emphasis that the system of justice in our country, comprises of three major components and weakness in one or more of these three components is bound to influence its efficiency and outcomes, so, thus the system demands full cooperation, coordination and honesty among these three components”.
“The edifice of a criminal case, undoubtedly is based on the investigation and so the basic and important player/stakeholder is investigating agency, which is under legal and professional morality to investigate the case in an honest, unbiased and professionally oriented manner, uninfluenced by any pressure, because functionally the police is accountable to Constitution and laws of the land, which it is obliged to uphold”, the court said, adding “if the investigation is influenced, justice gets tainted and process becomes an instrument of harassment and against those who are unable to fight through the system”.
The Judge further observed, “unfortunately, this has become the order of the day and has assumed even some degree of legitimacy, in recent times. It further need elaboration that police investigates the alleged crimes and the primary entry point for cases, into the criminal justice system and has been given wide discretion to decide how to behave and act and at times this discretion is misused by the investigators for variety of reasons and resultant effect thereof is failure of justice and, therefore, off and on, investigational aptitude of police officers involved in the investigation of crime more particularly high profile cases, is under criticism because of slip shod, faulty, non-scientific and disoriented investigation of cases and ultimate result is acquittal of cases thus eroding people’s faith in the effectiveness of criminal justice system when accused of heinous and ghastly offences are acquitted”.
“This case was projected as high profile by the investigating agency and prosecution for the reason that one of the accused (now dead) being son of Nagar Singh, who being a leading businessman of Jammu & Kashmir and one of the highest tax payers as submitted by the defence and having shady past and the potential to influence the investigation and prosecution and even trial of the case by the prosecution, but on going through the material on record and trial of the case, this court noticed certain fault lines in the investigation of the case viewed from different angles “, adding “even role of investigators and those who supervised the investigation appears to be doubtful and questionable on one hand or the same was outcome of ineptness, inefficient investigation and disorientation”.
The Judge further said, “since the case had been categorized as high profile case, unfair profiling and excessive vilification of accused by the investigators at the behest of invisible vested interest and actors cannot be ruled out given the mode and manner in which investigation has been conducted”, adding “at times media also plays its role in influencing investigation of a criminal case and even overt attempts are made to influence the trial and prejudice the mind of the court but the fact remains courts are not influenced by emotions and sentiments because Mr Prejudice and Ms Sympathy are not the witnesses who record their testimony in the courts, which decide a case purely on basis of facts, circumstances and evidence brought on record during trial”.
In the instant case before main accused Jatinder Singh alias Raja, accused Satnam Singh and accused Raj Singh could be brought to justice by the process of law, the law of nature played its role and did justice with them because they suffered untimely death during the pendency of the trial of this case, the Judge said, adding “this Court has no hesitation to observe and say that investigators while conducting proceedings and collecting evidence have acted as if they were writing script of a movie and were conducting shooting of a suspense movie and, thus, indulgence in twisting of true facts and use of false facts to convince and persuade this court to come to false conclusion cannot be ruled out”.
Stating that court cannot resist to observe and place on record the conduct, behaviour and role of the investigators and sound a note of caution for all the investigators, who are in service to be attentive, vigilant, careful, fair and professional in their dealings in future lest they should be put to task for their wrong doings, the Judge directed the DGP to seek an explanation from all the investigators, who are in service regarding lapses and gaps left in the case.
“The unsavory incident over trivial issue regarding business rivalry concerning operation of cable inter se Amandeep Singh and accused Jatinder Singh alias Raja (now dead) and accused Royal Singh resulted in death of the deceased”, the Judge said.
After hearing Special PP Sunil Sethi for the State whereas Advocates R K Kotwal, A K Shan, Rohit Sharma and Mandeep Singh for the accused persons, the court further observed, “as the proceedings and challan against deceased-accused Jatinder Singh alias Raja stood abated, the role of accused Royal Singh in terms of Section 34 of the RPC in the commission of offence by accused Jatinder Singh alias Raja is established beyond reasonable shadow of doubt”.
“So, the offence committed by main accused is attributable to the accused Royal Singh also because his role cannot be considered in isolation and in segregation rather he is collaborator in the commission of alleged offence. So, the ingredients of alleged offence under Sections 302/34 RPC read with Section 3/25 of Indian Arms Act are established against accused Royal Singh beyond reasonable shadow of doubt and he is convicted for the offences”.
“So far as accused Satnam Singh and Raj Singh are concerned they also expired during pendency of the challan and challan also abates against them under law. Further, prosecution has miserably failed to prove the relevant facts leading to the occurrence and role played by other accused persons in conspiracy of swapping of alleged weapon of offence to screen the main accused and also for changing the bullet during investigation on the basis of evidence, which is conflicting, contradictory and suffers from factual gaps, loopholes and missing links, beyond reasonable shadow of doubt, so the benefit of doubt goes to accused Nagar Singh, Jagar Singh, Rakesh Singh, Manohar Singh, Sultan Mehmood Mirza and S H Bukhari”.
Resultantly, the challan against these accused was dismissed.
With these observations, the court awarded rigorous imprisonment for life for the commission of offence under Section 302 RPC and pay a fine of Rs 30,000 to Royal Singh. In case of default of payment of fine the convict shall undergo further simple imprisonment of two months. The convict Royal Singh was further sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and pay a fine of Rs 5,000 for the commission of offence under Section 3/25 Arms Act.
In case of default of payment of fine the convict shall undergo further simple imprisonment of two months. However, both the sentences shall run concurrently.