No Video, No Eyewitness: How Accused in the Mangaluru Pub Attack Walked Free
When 26 men accused in the 2009 Mangaluru pub attack walked free on Monday, it came as a shock for all those who believed they were acquitted "despite video evidence".
File photo of Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik. (PTI)
Bengaluru: When 26 men accused in the 2009 Mangaluru pub attack walked free on Monday, it came as a shock for all those who believed they were acquitted "despite video evidence".
The video shows men chasing, beating women, dragging them by their hair at a pub in Mangaluru. But it seems the video was not even seen by the court hearing this case. The judgment of the judicial magistrate states that the investigating officer did not produce the videos and photographs before the court, which was crucial to the result of the hearing.
There was no evidence against the Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik and his cadre who were accused of assaulting women.
While the lack of video evidence before the court proved to be fatal for the prosecution, the court's judgment, a copy of which is with CNN-News18, shows that there were several other places where the prosecution failed to make its case, either because of a procedural lapse or witnesses turning hostile.
Here are the highlights of the judgment:
1. The prosecution examined twelve witness of which excluding the head constable and two investigating officers all others turned hostile.
2. The complainant said he did not witness the accused persons at the spot and he had never seen the accused persons on the alleged date and place. According to him, he affixed his signature at North police station without knowing its contents.
3. The licence holder of Amnesia bar and restaurant where the incident took place said that he had not given statement to the police and he did not witness the accused persons in media. He also failed to identify the accused persons.
4. One eyewitness injured in the incident deposed that he was assaulted, but he did not witness those persons. He also stated that he did not know who were present at the time of the incident and that he did not remember about giving the statement to the police.
5. The supervisor of the restaurant stated that about eight years back a quarrel took place between the hotel staff and mob outside of Bar and Restaurant, but he did not witness who were present in the mob and in the said incident no damages were caused to his hotel. He also deposed that he did not know which people were involved in the said incident and that he had not given statement to the police about witnessing the incident.
6. Four hotel staff who have constantly deposed that they did not know the incident and also they have not witnessed the accused persons at the spot on the alleged date.
7. Head Constable said that he received the complaint on January 24, 2009 at 7pm and on the basis of the complaint he registered the case and dispatched the FIR to the court. But a delay of 16 hours in dispatching the FIR also affected the case.
8. The court was also convinced that the complaint was drafted by the police as the oral evidence of the said complainant did not confirmed the documentary evidence.
9. Investigating officers searched for the women attacked, but could not procure their presence. The court pointed out that they were the best witness as they were the victims. But failing to procure them led the court to doubt whether the accused persons were involved in the incident as alleged by the court.
10. Observing these, the court stated that "there is no consistent, corroborative and reliable evidence placed before the court to prove the incident and involvement of the accused persons as alleged" and stated the prosecution utterly failed to prove the incident.
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