Innocent man spends 15 months in jailLudhiana, February 9
Tribune News Service
Eagerness of the police to solve a theft case and the suspicion of an industrialist has cost an innocent factory employee about 15 months of freedom.
The victim, a migrant from Bihar, had to spend these months in jail even as the police had busted a gang that had confessed of committing the nickel theft, for which the man was falsely implicated. He was arrested in October 2004, and released from the jail in the last week of January this year.
No body is being held responsible for the alleged wrong done to the victim, Ajay Lal, who used to work in General Metal Industries, owned by Mr Joginder Kumar, who is also the president of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association.
While the police shrugs of the blame of putting an innocent man behind bars arguing that the man was arrested on the complaint of Mr Kumar only, who, however, has demanded a CBI inquiry on why the police booked him without proper verification.
He stresses that his nickel has also not been recovered till date. The industrialist is the one who had informed the media about the injustice meted out to Ajay.
It was in October 2004, that huge amount of nickel was stolen from the factory. One of his employees, Ajay, had gone missing after the theft that put him under suspicion. However, he returned after a couple of days claiming he had no role in the theft and had gone away due to some personal problem.
Mr Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that as a dutiful citizen, he handed him over to the Division No 6 police. The police booked him for the theft and sent him to jail after taking a day’s police remand. Nothing was recovered from him.
Later, in April 2005, SP-Detective Gurpreet Singh claimed in a press conference that four members of an alleged 28-member gang of thieves, who used to steal the expensive nickel metal from various factories, have been caught.
The police had claimed that the gang had committed thefts in units, including Appu International, General Metal Industry, Rocky Industry and Avtar Singh and Joginder Kumar Industries.
The nabbed gangsters were listed as Shiv Kumar, alias Hira Lal, from Bihar, Rakesh Kumar, alias Raju, from Uttar Pradesh, Ram Kumar, alias Raj Kumar, from Uttar Pradesh and Ram Bahadur, alias Kishan Bahadur, from Nepal. The police had claimed that some quantity of nickel was recovered from them.
This proved that Ajay was not guilty for the theft and was wrongly charged. However, work moved on at snail’s pace for his release and it was only in late January this year that he was released.
The SP said the police was not at fault. “We have a signed statement of Mr Joginder Kumar that he suspected Ajay of the theft in his factory”, he said, adding, “When the police got the real accused arrested, the process for discharging Ajay had begun. But it takes some time for the legal formalities to be completed”.
Mr Kumar said he had merely raised a suspicion, but never intended the innocent man to be put behind bars for such a long time. He also claimed that it was on his instance only that the police began the process of discharging Ajay.
“The police just booked and arrested him. They could not make out during the questioning that the man was innocent. I had given the statement at the instance of the police only”, said Mr Kumar.