Chhattisgarh High Court: Gautam Chourdiya, J., upheld the decision of the trial court in a matter with regard to Section 379 Penal Code, 1860.

The present appeal was filed under Section 374(2) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 challenging the legality, validity and propriety of the Judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, whereby the appellant stands convicted under Section 379 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Complainant was working as a Secretary at Gram Panchayat and on the same day after the meeting, he went to the bank and withdrew a sum of Rs 12, 250. Thereafter, while he was returning home, on the way accused and co-accused met him and all of them together went to have mutton and consumed liquor.

From there, they reached the place near nursery where they stopped the motorcycle and both the accused started quarrelling with the complainant and after threatening him of life, assaulted upon him by stone and committed marpeet with him, as a result of which sustained injuries on his body and became unconscious.

After the above incident, accused and co-accused looted the amount of Rs 12,250 from complainant’s possession and fled from there.

Complainant lodged FIR against the accused and co-accused. Accused was arrested and achrge sheet was filed against the accused persons under Sections 307, 394 read with 34 and 397 of IPC.

Trial Court acquitted the co-accused of the said offence and convicted and sentenced the accused.

Counsel for the appellant submitted that the appellant had been falsely implicated in the case. No witness had seen the incident. Complainant lodged the FIR after the delay of 2 days. Hence the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence deserves to be set aside and the appellant be acquitted of the charges.

Bench held that in the totality of facts and circumstances of the present case, it stands proved beyond all reasonable doubt that it is the accused who looted complainant’s money. No explanation was given by the accused regarding the seizure of money from him and he did not claim anywhere in his statement that the said amount belonged to him.

It is a well settled principle of law that statements of police officers cannot be discarded or looked with suspicion merely because they are involved in the investigation.

If their statements are found free from the suspicion of falsity and have a ring of truth, they can safely be relied upon.

In the instant case, defence did not allege that the investigating officer was in any way inimical to the accused or was having any ill-will against him.

With regard to the delay in lodging FIR, the same happened due to the complainant was admitted in the hospital in an unconscious condition.

In view of the above-stated, High Court opined that conviction of the appellant under Section 379 IPC awarded by the trial court was just and proper warranting not interference by the Court.

The appeal being without any substance was liable to be dismissed. [Raju v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 433, decided on 19-10-2020]

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