No robbery if alleged collection of money by victim not proved; accused given benefit of doubt on no direct evidence

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of the trial court whereby the appellants were convicted for the offence punishable under Section 392 IPC.

As per the prosecution story, on the day of the incident, the complainant went to his oil mill, collected Rs 2,03,000, and proceeded towards the Post Office on his scooter. The appellants were alleged for following the complainant on a motorcycle, obstructing him on his way, threatening him with a gun, and taking away the money from the dickey of his scooter. Pursuant the complaint made by the complainant, an FIR was registered which ultimately resulted in conviction of the appellants by the trial court as mentioned above. Aggrieved thereby, the appellants preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the entire evidence available on record as well as testimony of all the prosecution witness. It was found that the alleged money collected by the complainant was not proved. In such circumstances, there could not be any robbery. Although it was stated that Rs 13000 lat scattered at the place of occurrence, not even a single note was recovered. Mere presence of motorcycle could not aby robbery. It wasn’t clear as to how the police came to the spot. Person carrying the revolver was not identified, genuineness of documents to confirm the ownership of the scooter was not verified, the constable who read the cash-book to the Investigation Officer was not made a prosecution witness. The Court was of the view that in the absence of any direct evidence that the appellants were involved in commission of the offence, benefit of doubt may be extended to them. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed. The appellants were acquitted of all the charges, the order of the trial court was reversed. [Abdul Rashid v. State of W.B.,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 6326, dated 13-09-2018]

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