Mangaluru, Apr 30, 2018/ The hindu: Acting on the recommendation of the Directorate of Prosecution, Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate S. Sasikanth Senthil on Saturday granted sanction to the public prosecutor to file an appeal before the District Sessions Court against the order acquitting 26 accused in the 2009 pub attack case.
The public prosecutor of the second Judicial Magistrate First Class had on March 28 written to Mr. Senthil seeking his sanction for filing an appeal. As per Section 378 of the Criminal Procedure Code, direction from the District Magistrate is necessary to file an appeal before a Sessions court against an order of acquittal passed by a Magistrate in a congnisable and non-bailable offence.
Following scrutiny by the Magisterial section in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, the file was placed before Mr. Senthil.
“I have cleared the file related to the pub attack case,” Mr. Senthil told The Hindu.
If the District and Sessions Court passes a favourable order in the appeal, the case would be referred back to the Magistrate for fresh trial.
The Second Judicial Magistrate First Class Manjunatha R. on March 12 acquitted 26 of the 30 persons arrested following the attack on men and women at Amnesia Bar and Restaurant in Mangaluru in January 2009. The Magistrate acquitted Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik and 25 others of charges framed under Sections 143, 147, 448, 341, 342, 323, 504, 505(2), 506 and 120(B).
While the charges against three accused persons have been kept pending as they have failed to appear before court, those against one abated as he died during pendency of the case.
In his order, the Magistrate mentioned about the absence of any evidence before the court about the attack. The Magistrate pointed out that the women customers who were reportedly attacked by the accused had not been procured by the investigation officer and they were not citied as witnesses. “Non-securing the women is fatal to the prosecution and it creates a doubt in the mind of this court about the involvement of the accused persons as alleged by the prosecution,” the Magistrate noted in his judgment.
The Magistrate also pointed out the failure of the investigation officer in producing before the court photographs and videos of the attack which had been circulated on the social media. He made note of nine eye-witnesses, including a man who was also said to be a victim of the assault, and the complainant (the owner of the bar) turning hostile before the court. The Magistrate has mentioned several other lapses in the investigation of the case.
Following the judgment, a senior prosecutor in the Department of Prosecution went through the findings and recommended that appeal be made based on the need for examining more witnesses. The Director of Directorate of Prosecutor gave approval to this and wrote to the public prosecutor of the Second JMFC Court to seek approval of the Deputy Commissioner for filing the appeal.
Meanwhile, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Neelamani S. Raju has written to the Mangaluru Police Commissioner to inquire into the alleged lapses in investigation and has asked him to take disciplinary action, if required.