DERA GHAZI KHAN: A court official has been accused of withholding a murder case file for over nine years and deleting the original entry from the file-movement register.
The excision was detected when a man named Abdul Hameed was arrested eight months ago and a police challan was forwarded to the court of additional sessions judge Khadim Hussain in September of 2009.
Abdul Hameed was accused of shooting and killing two people and injuring a woman with the help of an unidentified accomplice in 2000.
The men had allegedly climbed a rooftop and waited in concealed positions before gunning down their targets in a residential area in Asadabad.
Complainant Abdul Kareem alleged that Abdul Hameed and his accomplice escaped to Gwadar port in Balochistan, immediately after the attack. His daughter Sakina Bibi was critically injured while his relatives Ghulam Yasin and Wazir Ahmed were killed.
The accused was arrested by police officials on information about his whereabouts obtained by the complainant himself.
When the additional judge Khadim Hussain (Jampur) asked for the original case file before hearing the case, he was informed that it could not be traced.
The additional judge ordered the district attorney of Dera Ghazi Khan to order an inquiry into the matter and take disciplinary action the officials responsible for the omission.
The inquiry revealed that the district attorney’s office reader Talib Hussain, who was later posted to Mandi Bahauddin from DG Khan, had submitted the original challan in 2000 when the case was first registered.
On his transfer he had failed to leave a copy of the file with record keeper Muneer Ahmed.
The sessions court summoned Muneer Ahmad in January of 2010 for an explanation. Muneer informed the court that he had prepared a case file and handed it over to Talib Hussain to be presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court.
Talib Hussain, who appeared before the sessions judge on February 11, 2010, stated that he had submitted the file to the Anti-Terrorism Court but was sent back as the record was incomplete. He added that he handed the file back to Muneer Ahmed, who had failed to return it.
The complainant, however, accused Talib Hussain of accepting a hefty bribe from the accused to tamper the record and steal the case file for him.
He said that the reader had ensured that the murder challan was not presented before a court of law.
He said he had learnt that accused the reader had changed court record and altered prosecution challans in several cases.
In his letter to the district attorney on May 13, 2010 the additional sessions judge stated, “The incomplete challan submitted by the DA’s office was not delivered to the office of Muneer Ahmed. It was picked up by some subordinate official.
It appears that the incomplete challan was never put up before the special judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court as per orders.
The case file was kept in illegal possession by some officials for about nine years”.
The DG Khan district attorney also informed the Punjab government that several office stamps, cheque books and accounts were also missing from the office.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
The earlier version of the article misstated the location of the story which is Dera Ghazi Khan and not Dera Ismail Khan.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 31st, 2010.