ISLAMABAD: It seems that another rape victim has fallen prey to shoddy police investigation and poor handling of evidence.
The Islamabad High Court has reprimanded an investigating officer for tampering with the evidence, favouring the suspect and not maintaining a proper record of the investigations in an alleged rape of an 11-year-old girl.
Details of the erratic investigation surfaced in the judgment of the IHC when a suspect in a rape case, Zahid Iqbal, sought bail from the court after a sessions court had dismissed his previous plea.
In February, the Sihala police had booked Iqbal, a servant living across from the complainant’s house in Bara Pir Sohawa area of the capital, on charges of illegally detaining the daughter of the complainant and then allegedly raping her.
The complainant’s daughter had reportedly disappeared on February 27 and was found the next day just as the complainant was heading to police station to file a missing persons report. The victim alleged that Iqbal forced her into a room and raped her.
But, the high court noted that the investigation conducted by Investigation Officer Zulfiqar Ali, was faulty and favoured the accused.
Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, who was hearing the bail application, asked the IO Ali several questions about his investigation and the evidence which he had gathered. However, the cop was unable to satisfy the judge with his replies.
The court noted that Ali had listed a “cot” as lying in the room but did not cite it in the site plan. When the court asked him about the discrepancy, Ali could not give a plausible explanation. He also failed to explain why a statement of victim was not recorded in the case.
“The IO appears to be involved in damaging the case of the prosecution,” Justice Qureshi remarked. He subsequently directed the SP Investigation to entrust the investigation to an impartial officer for conducting further investigations and address all deficiencies.
The court further directed the police to initiate departmental proceedings against the investigation officer, on how he had damaged the prosecution’s case and that the report of the proceedings should be submitted before the trial court.
Iqbal’s counsel had filed for bail claiming that his client had been behind bars since May 5 and was entitled to the concession.
While dismissing the bail application, Justice Qureshi stated that “this favourable investigation is sufficiently showing mala fide and collusion of the IO with the accused. Therefore, I am not inclined to grant bail.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2016.
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