High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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STATE OF PUNJAB v. BHAGWAN SINGH & Ors - CRA-115-DBA-1993  RD-P&H 1 (20 January 2004)
State of Punjab Vs. Bhagwan Singh and others Present: Mr.K.K.Bheniwala, D.A.G.Punjab.
for the respondents.
Bhagwan Singh, Jarnail Singh and Pritam Singh were tried before learned Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Jalandhar for preparation of false records and documents in order to defraud London Life Insurance Corporation(Canada). At the trial co-accused Inspector Darshan Singh and his son Parampreet Singh were declared proclaimed offenders. The learned Magistrate came to the conclusion that investigation has been conducted in a casual manner without following the laiddown procedures. Material witnesses were never examined inspite of 14 opportunities. Prosecution had failed to prove the case and the respondents were acquitted. State of Punjab came up in appeal against acquittal.
Parampreet Singh Chhina(proclaimed offender) was married to Surinder Kaur Chhina. The former was an immigrant while the latter was a Canadian citizen. On October 5, 1982 Parampreet Singh filed a claim against Criminal Appeal No.115 DBA of 1993 2
London Life Insurance Corporation(Canada) of $500,000. According to Parampreet Singh, Surinder Kaur had died in an accident on September 10,
1982. Parampreet Singh submitted death certificate, police report, certificate of cremation and certificate of Dr. Jagjit Singh regarding her death.
From the documents it was clear that Surinder Kaur Chhina had been killed in a automobile accident on September 10, 1982 at Jalandhar.
However, investigation by the police in Canada revealed that Surinder Kaur Chinna was alive and living with Paramjit Singh Chhina. They were arrested on November 16, 1983 and put to trial in Canada.
The Canadian police sent a report of the matter to D.I.G., C.I.D.
Punjab on the basis of which the present case under Section 420,465,468 read with Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code was registered at Police Station Sadar, Jalandhar on November 8, 1984.
During the investigation of the case it was revealed that on September 10, 1982 Bhagwan Singh had lodged a report with the police that he alongwith his relatives Parampreet Chhina and Darshan Singh were travelling in Jeep No.PBN-9814. When the jeep reached G.T.road bye-pass and was at some distance from the Railway Station, the front left tyre of the jeep burst and Surinder Kaur who was also sitting in the jeep, fell out of the jeep, hit the culvert and sustained head injuries. When the passengers of the jeep rushed to aid Surinder Kaur Chhina they discovered that she had died at Criminal Appeal No.115 DBA of 1993 3
the spot. On the basis of the statement of Bhagwan Singh, a case was registered. ASI Pritam Singh(respondent) rushed to the place of the occurrence and prepared rough site plan but no post mortem examination on the dead body was conducted. Darshan Singh, Pritam Singh, Bhagwan Singh and Jarnail Singh were arrested and put to trial. Charges were framed against them to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. At some stage Darshan Singh also absented himself and was also declared a proclaimed offender. Therefore, only the persons who faced trial were Bhagwan Singh, Jarnail Singh and Pritam Singh.
Prosecution examined police officers who had conducted investigation in the accident case, witnesses who had seen the cremation of a woman, a relative of Darshan Singh and the witnesses who had prepared and gave death certificate etc.
However, prosecution failed to bring any evidence on record to show that Surinder Kaur Chhina had not died in the accident and was infact alive and well living in Canada where claim for insurance had been filed before the insurance company to the tune of $500,000.
This is a case of lack of evidence as regards Bhagwan Singh, Jarnail Singh and Pritam Singh. Bhagwan Singh and Jarnail Singh belong to Butter Roshan Shah, Police Station Zira and had reported the death of Surinder Kaur but they denied any relationship with her husband Parampreet Criminal Appeal No.115 DBA of 1993 4
Singh Chhina. Pritam Singh was the police officer who had recorded the F.I.R. in the accident case. It is natural that these witnesses could not have been possibly known the name of the woman who had died in the jeep accident and also may not have any way of knowing that Surinder Kaur's husband Paramjit Singh Chhina had claimed insurance for her death in the accident. It was necessary for the prosecution to establish the link between the woman who had died in the accident and the claim for insurance filed by a woman's husband which was found to be false because the deceased in the insurance claim was alive. Prosecution should have established that the woman who died in the accident was the same in respect of whose death the false claim had been filed. Prosecution had sufficient opportunities but failed to bring evidence on record.
Therefore, the learned Trial Judge had justifiably acquitted the three accused but had also observed that this finding would have not have any Parmpreet Singh Chhina and his father Darshan Singh(proclaimed offenders)whenever they are arrested and brought before the trial court.
This appeal is found to be devoid of merit and is dismissed. It is made clear that the acquittal of the three respondents shall not be taken as an expression of opinion as regards the innocence of Parampreet Singh Chhina and his farther Darshan Singh who might have substituted Surinder Kaur Criminal Appeal No.115 DBA of 1993 5
Chhina's name in place of the woman who died in the jeep accident in order to lodge a false insurance claim in Canada.
July 6, 2005 (K.S.GAREWAL)
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