Hit-and-run case: Court official blamed for missing challan

Trial of driver stalled because challan went missing from official files.


Rana Yasif July 29, 2011

LAHORE:


The challan of a hit-and-run case against the official driver of a former chief secretary was marked as received by a court ahlmad (record keeper) and then handed to a clerk without authorisation, after which it has not been seen again.


Waseem Iqbal, the ahlmad of Magistrate Attiqur Rehman, later crossed out the entry showing that he had received the challan with a pen, according to an inquiry, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Sixteen months ago, a retired colonel on a motorcycle was killed in a traffic accident in Cantt with then chief secretary Javed Mehmood’s car. An FIR was later registered against the driver, Ghulam Mustafa, saying he was speeding.

Azam Ikram, the colonel’s son, recently filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking that the trial be expedited. The Sarwar Road police station house officer told the court that the police had done their job by submitting the challan to the magistrate.

The Supreme Court directed the Lahore sessions judge to find out what had happened. The sessions judge asked the magistrate, who reported that there was an entry in the official register which had been crossed out.

The magistrate wrote in his report to the judge that the ahlmad had admitted to receiving the challan, marking it as such in court register No 1, and later handing it to prosecution clerk Malik Raees Ahmed and Prosecution Branch superintendent Mushtaq Ahmed. This was illegal, as the ahlmad was not allowed to hand a judicial file to anyone as he was only the custodian of the court’s record. An inquiry committee headed by Magistrate Khalid Saeed Wattoo was then formed to investigate the matter. The inquiry committee will provide a list of charges to the ahlmad today, after which he will have seven days to produce evidence or witnesses proving his innocence, otherwise he will be adjudged guilty, said sources close to the committee. The inquiry is ongoing and it is not clear whether the clerk will be charged with an offence. The inquiry report is due in the Supreme Court next month.

The hit-and-run case is now to be tried by Magistrate Masroor Anwar Khan, with the charges against the driver to be framed on July 30.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.

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