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Seven acquitted in fake postal stamps case


Thane: A local court has acquitted seven persons arrested in a 2007 case for allegedly possessing and circulating fake postal stamps, while expressing dissatisfaction over the manner in which the investigation was conducted.

District judge A S Waghwase, in his order delivered recently, acquitted the seven persons giving them the benefit of doubt.

Thane Local Crime Branch (LCB) had on June 5, 2007 arrested Piyush near Kashimira area here and recovered fake stamps and foreign bills with face value of Rs 3.44 lakh from him.

After interrogating him, another six persons were arrested and fake stamps and bills with face value of Rs 40.12 lakh seized from their possession along with printing press machines, offset machine, ink, fake stamps and positive films, CDs etc.

All the seven accused were tried under relevant sections of the IPC and section 55 of the Indian Postal Rules.

Advocate Ramrao S Jagtap, who appeared on behalf of the accused, in his submission pointed out several lapses by the investigating officers.

The defence counsel pointed out that the seizure was doubtful for two reasons, firstly there was no reference in the panchanama that seal (wax seal) was applied and signatures of the officers were done on the label (on the seized material) at the spot itself and secondly, a plastic bag in which the counterfeit stamps were kept, was not produced before the court.

The judge, in his order, expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the investigation was conducted, citing, the investigating officers failure to provide details of the private vehicle used in the crime.

The court observed, “It is important to record statement of the driver of such private vehicle but probe has not been done in such direction and the information is missing from the investigation. There are inconsistent versions about arrest of the accused.”

The court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt.

Those acquitted were Piyush Vasantrao Rawal (37), Dileep Shankar Shirdhankar (56), Santosh R Chowkekar (37), Surykant Yeshwant Madhav (26), Suresh Kothekar (44), Sandeep Harishchandara Borkar (41) and Ravindra Gajanan Dighe (37).

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