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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sections 364A, 395, 412, 471, 120B IPC &Section 25 of the Arms Act- for proving a charge of conspiracy, it is not necessary that all the conspirators know each and every detail of the conspiracy so long as they are co-participators in the main object of conspiracy. It is also not necessary that all the conspirators should participate from the inception of conspiracy to its end. = HARPAL SINGH @ CHHOTA Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB-2016 Nov. http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=44322

                                                        REPORTABLE

                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2539 OF 2014

HARPAL SINGH @ CHHOTA                        …APPELLANT
            VERSUS
STATE OF PUNJAB                                      …RESPONDENT

                            WITH

                 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 388 OF 2015

SUKHMEET SINGH @ DEPUTY                           …APPELLANT
            VERSUS
STATE OF PUNJAB                                     …RESPONDENT

                       J U D G M E N T

      AMITAVA ROY, J.

            The appellants, two out of  the  six  persons,  convicted  under
Sections 364A, 395, 412, 471, 120B IPC  and  the  appellant-Harpal  Singh  @
Chhota in Criminal Appeal No.2539 of 2014 also under Section 25 of the  Arms
Act, hereby impeach the affirmation of their conviction by  the  High  Court
by the common impugned judgment and order dated  21.04.2014  rendered  in  a
batch of appeals.   Though  eight  persons  including  the  appellants  were
indicted of the charges corresponding to the offences proved,  one  Gurinder
Singh  @  Ginda  died  during  trial  and  Rupinder  Singh  was   exonerated
therefrom.  Following their conviction on the  aforementioned  charges,  the
appellants and other similarly situated have been awarded sentences  ranging
 from one year to imprisonment for life  and  fine  commensurate  therewith.
It has been ordered that all the sentences would run concurrently.
2.          We have heard Mr. R. Basant,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 2539  of  2014,   Mr.  Subromaniam  Prasad,
learned senior counsel for the appellant in Criminal Appeal number   388  of
2015 and Mr. V. Madhukar, learned counsel for the State.
3.          The records divulge that  on  11.01.2008  at  about  7.45  p.m.,
while  Inspector/SHO of Nurmahal Police  station  was  on  patrol  duty,  he
received a secret information that on 09.01.2008 at about 10/11  a.m.,  four
persons had kidnapped one Gagan Mahendru son of Subhash  Mahendru,  resident
of Mota Singh Nagar, Jalandhar in their  Honda  City  car  from  near  Preet
Palace at gun point, most probably for extracting ransom.
            As the input disclosed offence under Sections 364,  364A/34  IPC
r/w Sections 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act, the information was  forwarded  to
the police station for its registration and consequential steps.
             FIR  No.10  dated   11.01.2008   under    the   afore-mentioned
provisions of law, accordingly  was  registered  with  the  Nurmahal  Police
Station and investigation was initiated, in course  whereof,  the  statement
of Gagan Kumar Mahendru  as  aforestated  was  recorded  under  Section  161
Cr.P.C.   In  his  statement   Gagan,  who  claimed  to  be  the  victim  of
kidnapping, stated that on 09.01.2008 Sukhmeet Singh   @  Deputy,   Gurinder
Singh @ Ginda, Jasbir Singh @ Jassi etc. had kidnapped him, tied  his  hands
and bundled him in the dickey of their car, with the dishonest intention  of
realising ransom and took him in the house of Rupinder Pal Singh from  where
he was released on 11.01.2008.  He claimed to  have  identified  the  places
where he had been kept  captive and also the places to  which  he  had  been
shifted in between.
            The statements of the victim and  his  father  Subhash  Mahendru
were  also  recorded  under   Section   164   Cr.P.C.    On   pursuing   the
investigation, the police also visited the place from where the  victim  had
been kidnapped.  The Lancer car bearing No.PB- 08-BA-4700 of the victim  was
found parked outside Hotel Taj, Jalandhar which  was  recovered  and  handed
over to him.  The accused  persons  were  arrested  between  16.01.2008  and
23.01.2008 and  the  following  mobile  phones  were  recovered  from  their
possession:
Sukhmeet Singh @ Deputy                 98553–64086
(appellant in Crl. Appeal No. 388 of 2015)

Gurinder Singh @ Ginda                        98148-81082
Jatinder Singh @ Sappi                            98151-58151
Jasvir Singh @ Jassi –                            98151– 58161
Harpal Singh @ Chhota                             98760–87794
 (appellant in  Crl. Appeal No. 2539 of 2014 )

Harpreet  Singh @ happy.                        98158- 54784
Surinder Singh @ Manga                        98154-03503
            On the basis of disclosure statements made by appellant  Sukhbir
Singh @ Deputy a sum of Rs.25 lakhs and a point .32  revolver  belonging  to
the victim, Honda City Car bearing number HR 16F 7337  lying  concealed,  as
well as two iron chains with which Gagan, the  victim  had  been  tied  were
recovered by the investigating agency.
            On the  same  day,  Gurinder  Singh  @  Ginda  also  suffered  a
disclosure statement following which an amount of Rs.11 lakhs was  recovered
from his room.  Similar disclosure statements were  also  made  by  Jatinder
Singh @ Jatin, Jasvir Singh @ Jassi  and   Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota,  acting
whereupon, huge amounts of cash were recovered together with a country  made
pistol with live cartridges.
            On 22.01.2008 and  23.01.2008,  as  well  disclosure  statements
were made by Harpreet Singh @ Happy and Surinder Singh @ Manga and  pursuing
the  same,  several  lakhs  of  currency  notes  were  recovered  from   the
almirah/room of these persons along with one Qualis car  bearing  number  PB
10 AY 4144 said to have been used by the appellant Sukhmeet Singh @  Deputy,
in the commission of the crime.
            Noticeably, the Honda City  car  recovered  bore  engine  number
30125 765 and chassis number 377271 standing  in  the  name  of  one  Deepak
Bhiwani, s/o Raj Singh Bhiwani, resident of Bhiwani and was of  model  2007,
as  disclosed by the registration  certificate  found  inside  the  vehicle.
The documents recovered also disclosed that the insurance policy of the  car
stood in the name of Deepak Bhiwani issued on 18.11.2007.  Further from  the
dicky of the car, a driving licence of  the  victim  Gagan  Kumar  was  also
retrieved along with one small roll of  tape,  one  scissor  and  one  black
colour rope.
            Investigation divulged that the Hona  City  car  did  bear  fake
number  HR  16  F  7337  which  was  stolen  in  the  intervening  night  of
30.11.2007/01.12.2007  from  Delhi  and  for  which  FIR  number  255  dated
01.12.2007 was registered with Rajinder Nagar  Police  Station.  Though  the
Engine number and the chassis number  did  match,  the  actual  registration
number was DL 4C AH 4492.
            On the  completion  of  the  investigative  drill,  charge-sheet
under Sections 364A, 392, 395, 397, 412, 465, 467, 468, 471, 474,  120B  IPC
and Sections 25/27 of the Arms Act was laid  against  the  accused  persons.
As hereto before stated, Gurinder Singh @ Ginda died during  the  trial  and
the accused  Rupinder Pal was acquitted by the trial court.  The  other  co-
accused Prabhijit Singh @ Sonu could not be  arrested  and  was  declared  a
proclaimed offender.  The investigation however  revealed  that  his  mobile
number  94636-12914 had been used in the commission of the offence.
4.          Charges were framed against the accused  persons  including  the
appellants under the above Sections of  law   to  which  they  pleaded  'not
guilty', whereafter the prosecution  examined  27  witnesses.   The  accused
persons in the course of their statements under Section  313  Cr.P.C.  stood
by their denial of the charge.  While the appellant Sukhmeet  Singh  alleged
political vendetta to frame him in the case and that the police  had  raided
his house and had forcibly lifted Rs. 25 lakhs which belonged to his  father
Jarnail Singh and was arranged by him for the purchase of land,  the  others
generally, but  consistently  imputed  false  implication  in  the  offence.
Fourteen witnesses were also examined in defence.  The  Trial  Court  on  an
assessment  of  the  evidence  on  record,  to  reiterate,   convicted   the
appellants and their co-accused under the above mentioned sections  of  law.
By the verdict assailed in the instant appeals, the conviction and  sentence
recorded by the Trial Court have been sustained.
5.          It is considered appropriate to revert to the  rival  assertions
for better comprehension  after  traversing  the  evidence  adduced  to  the
extent unavoidable.
            PW1 Gagan Kumar, the person kidnapped,  testified  that  at  the
relevant time, he was involved in  Real  Estate  Business  with  his  father
Subhash Chandra (PW2). About 15-20 days before the incident  on  09.01.2008,
he received a call from mobile number 9914413696 and the  caller  introduced
himself to be Ginda and expressed his  keenness  for  effecting  a  property
deal at Jandiala, District  Jalandhar, in  course  whereof,  he  offered  to
sell the land of his aunt.  The witness, though suggested  that  the  caller
ought to get in touch with his father, the  latter  insisted  for  necessary
discussion with him.  According to the  witness,  after  2/3  days,  another
call was made by the same person and accordingly, they fixed up  a  time  at
9.00 a.m. on the next date, whereupon  the  victim  along  with  his  friend
Chetan Chopra went to the scheduled place of meeting.   The  witness  stated
that at the time fixed, three persons came in a Innova  car  and  thereafter
the victim and his friend along with two persons proceeded  in  the  car  of
the victim to survey the land.  After the visit, they parted.   The  witness
deposed that thereafter on many occasions, the same  caller  made  telephone
calls  to  further  the  deal  and  eventually,  they  decided  to  meet  on
09.01.2008 at 9.00 a.m. for further discussions.
            According to the witness, he was there at the site  in  his  car
bearing no. PB 08 BA 4700 and as stated  by  him  on  oath,   at  the  first
instance, two persons came there and boarded his vehicle.   The  victim  was
thereafter asked to proceed to the colony where  the  owner  i.e   the  aunt
referred to, used to reside.  The witness stated that he  took  the  vehicle
to the place as directed.  The person sitting by his  side  then  pointed  a
revolver on his ear.  Almost  immediately  thereafter,  a  Honda  City  car,
driven at a high speed, pulled  up  in  front  of  his  car,  wherefrom  4-5
persons alighted and attacked the victim.  The witness stated  that  whereas
one person pointed  the  revolver  on  his  thigh,  the  other  removed  his
licenced revolver along with his cell phone, keys of the  car  and  currency
notes amounting to Rs.15,000/-.  The witness stated that  thereafter  a  cap
was placed on his face and a tape was pasted on his mouth. After some  time,
his hands  were also tied and  he was forcibly put into the  dickey  of  the
Honda City car.  As the victim resisted, he  was  threatened  to  be  killed
with his own  revolver.   After  moving  the  car  for  some  distance,  the
abductors burrowed a hole in the rear seat of the car  and  the  victim  was
asked to contact  his father over  a  cell  phone.   Under  compulsion,  the
victim talked to his father and  acquainted him with his state  of  distress
and requested him to concede to their request for  his  safety.   The  phone
was thereafter disconnected.  According to the victim, for  the  whole  day,
he remained in the dicky and could hear the exchanges of the  occupants  who
were addressing each other as Happy, Jassi, Ginda, Deputy and Sabbi.      He
further stated that in the night, he was taken to a room  with  an  attached
bathroom where he was allowed to ease himself  and  thereafter  was  put  on
chains on  his  hands  and  feet  and  was  blindfolded  as  well.   He  was
thereafter taken to different places and was also offered  food.  Later,  he
was drugged.  On objection being raised, he  was  threatened  to  be  killed
with his revolver.  The victim stated that in the  next  morning,  he  found
himself tied with iron chain, whereafter he was restored  in  the  dicky  of
the car and the miscreants wandered  around with him.  In  between,  he  was
made to talk to his father, whereupon he repeated  his  request  to  do  the
needful for his release.  Later in the night, the  victim  was  informed  by
abductors that as the ransom amount  was  received,  he  would  be  released
soon. He was threatened that in case, after his let off, he  would  disclose
about the incident to anyone, he would  be  killed  along  with  his  family
members.  It was intimated, that they had strong political  links  and  even
if  they  were  arrested,  they  would  come  out  of   custody   soon   and
appropriately retaliate.  The  victim  was  thereafter  dropped  at  Nakodar
Chowk.
            The witness identified Sukhmeet Singh @ Deputy, Ginda,  Harpreet
Singh @ Happy,  Sabbi, Jassa and Harpal Singh @ Chhota in Court to be  those
present in the Honda City in the car  and  thus  the  perpetrators   of  the
crime.  The witness also narrated, that on 12th, he was taken by the  police
to the place from where he was kidnapped and that his statements  were  duly
recorded as well.  He claimed to have identify the place and also  disclosed
that he had dropped his driving  licence  in  the  dicky  of  the  car.   He
identified as well the driving licence produced  in  court  along  with  the
iron chains   by which his hands were tied  and  the tape roll by which  his
mouth was muzzled.
            In cross-examination, this witness admitted that  the  appellant
Sukhmeet Singh at the relevant time was a Municipal Councillor and  he  knew
him from before the incident.  He however clarified that  he  did  not  have
any personal acquaintance/intimacy  with  him  and  that  he  was  also  not
conversant with his voice.  He admitted as well, that he knew the full  name
of the appellant at the time of making of the statement  before  the  police
and the Magistrate.  He however elaborated that as the accused persons  used
to address him as Deputy, he did use that name while making the  statements.
 He also claimed to be unaware then that Sukhmeet Singh and Deputy  was  one
and the same person.  He also conceded qua his  earlier  statement  that  at
the time of his release at Nakodar Chowk, he had  not  seen  the   appellant
Sukhmeet   present  there.   He  also  admitted  that  there  was  no   test
identification parade held and that he as well did not furnish the  physical
features of the miscreants  to  the  police.   According  to  this  witness,
neither the recovered money  nor the weapons had  been shown to him  by  the
police.  He stated that by 24.01.2008, he could come to know   the names  of
all the accused persons from the newspaper.  Vis-a-vis the  name  of  Harpal
Singh @ Chhota, the witness stated in particular that he did  not  know  him
prior to the incident and that he mentioned his name for the first  time  in
the court.
            A perusal of the  statement made by the  victim   under  Section
164 Cr.P.C. demonstrates that  the same is  substantially identical  to  the
one  on oath at the trial.    The sequence of events  are in the same  order
and  in particular, he  reiterated the names of Sonu Bhajji,  Happy  Bhajji,
 Ginda, Sabbi and Deputy while referring to the persons in  the  car,  while
he was languishing  in the dickey thereof.
            PW2 Subhash Chander, the father of the victim  deposed  that  at
the time of the incident,  his son was in real estate   business  with  him.
He admitted  that  his son had mentioned to  him  about  the  proposed  deal
which was being promoted by a party of Jandiala on which he had advised  the
victim to inspect the site so that a decision could be taken  lateron.   The
witness testified that on  9.1.2008,  his  son  informed  him  that  he  had
received a telephone call in connection with the  deal    and  that  he  had
fixed 9.30 in the morning for the said purpose.  That on the same  day,  his
son had left  for   negotiations in his  Lancer  car  PB  08  BA  4700,  was
stated by him.   According to the witness, at about 11.45 a.m. on that  day,
he received a telephone  call  conveying  to  him  that  his  son  had  been
kidnapped and further  a ransom amount of Rs. 5 crores was demanded for  his
release. The witness stated that the caller also threatened him that if  the
money demanded was not arranged, his son would be killed.  Thereafter,    on
his entreaties,  he was allowed to talk to his son  who  pleaded   that  the
ransom amount be paid as otherwise, his abductors, who  were  equipped  with
deadly weapons, may do harm to him.
            The witness  stated that thereafter,  he  received  a  telephone
call from  a  mobile  phone  No.  9814804700  enquiring  of  him  about  the
arrangements made about the  ransom  amount.    According  to  the  witness,
subsequent thereto from time to time, he kept on receiving  telephone  calls
at the interval of 3/4 hours about the progress in  the  collection  of  the
ransom amount with the insistence that  the amount should be paid early,  if
he wished the welfare of his son.   In response to a call received at  9  pm
on the same day and on the expression of  his  inability  to  arrange   more
than Rs. 1 crore,  the caller  asked him to await further  instructions.  By
the next phone call at 10 pm, the abductors informed the  witness  that   no
amount less than Rs. 1 crore was acceptable to them.
             The  witness  further  stated  that  on  the  next  date   i.e.
10.1.2008,  he received a call from the cell phone of his son at 8.30  a.m.,
 and on the query made, he stated that by then, he could arrange only  90-92
lakhs with great difficulty.   This was followed by another call   at  10/11
a.m. from the same person enquiring about the amount arranged to  which  the
witness replied that  somehow he had been able to arrange Rs.  1  crore  and
requested the abductors to  close  the  deal.    Eventually  at  4.20  p.m.,
through another call, the abductors instructed  the  witness   to  fill  the
money in two bags  and take the  train    “Shane Punjab”  for Delhi .    The
witness on his request  was allowed to be accompanied by one  attendant  and
he was instructed to sit in the last  compartment  of  the  train  with  the
caveat that in case  he  would try to act smart or against the  instructions
or inform the police,  all his family members would be eliminated.   He  was
informed as well that he would be under  watch on the train.
            According to the witness, he took the  money  in  two  bags  and
along with  his friend Munish Berry boarded the  train  from  Jalandhar.  He
stated that on the way, he  kept  on  receiving  telephone  calls  from  the
abductors to ascertain the stages of the journey.  He stated that  when  the
train reached near Sirhind Railway Station, they directed both  of  them  to
come near the left side door of the compartment and wait for a flash  signal
while  the train would be reaching Raj Pura and to drop the bags   when  the
train would slow down near an over-bridge, 3/4 k.m. before Raj Pura so  that
the same could be collected by them.  The abductors  also  assured  them  to
release the victim after the money was received.
            The witness stated that as the train slowed down  at  the  place
indicated,  they threw away the two bags containing  the  ransom  money  and
proceeded towards Delhi. Subsequent thereto,  they  took  a  train  back  to
Jalandhar.  Meanwhile,  he received a telephone call from  the  victim  that
he had reached home safely.  The witness deposed that on 12.1.2008 he  along
with victim and 2/3 friends, met the police at  Jandiala  on  their  way  to
police station and narrated the entire incident.  The witness   stated  that
on 13.1.2008,  he received a call from the police that the  Lancer  car  No.
PB 08 BA 4700 has been located near Taj Hotel,  Garha  Road,  Jalandhar  and
thereafter on completion of the formalities, the vehicle was handed over  to
his son.  The witness  in course of his testimony, identified  the two  bags
in which the  ransom money  had  been  taken  i.e.  Ex.  P9  and  P10.    He
mentioned that the currency  was in  the  denominations  of  Rs.  1000,  Rs.
500 and Rs. 100. He also clarified that  on 5/6  packets   of  the  currency
notes, he had  inscribed initials/names like AS, KK,  Om  Namah  Shivah,  Om
Sri  Ganeshay   Namah,  and  Jai  Hanuman.     The  witness  at  the  trial,
identified the currency notes as a part of the ransom money. The bundles  of
currency notes produced in the  court were marked as Ex.  P11 to Ex.  P68.
            In his cross-examination, the witness admitted  that  though  he
knew Sukhmeet Singh  at  the  time  of  incident  as  he  was  a   Municipal
Councillor, he clarified that he did  not  have  any  personal  relationship
with him.  He conceded that   he  had  not  informed  the  police/Magistrate
about the initials and names on the  packets  of  the  currency  notes.   He
however claimed that even in absence of such initials/names, he  could  have
otherwise identified the currency  notes  from  the  denominations  thereof.
He however disclosed that his relations from whom money  was  collected  did
inform that such initials/names had been inscribed  on  the  packets.     He
admitted that the FIR was registered on  11.1.2008.  He  elaborated  on  the
names of the persons and relations from whom  different sums  of  money  was
taken on loan. He specified the  amounts  as  well.    He  stated  that  his
statement was recorded by the police on 12.1.2008.
            PW4 SI Pritam Singh,  who at the relevant time,  was  posted  at
the  Nurmahal  Police  Station,  deposed  that  he  did   partake   in   the
investigation and had accompanied the I.O. Inspector Satish Kumar  Malhotra.
  He reiterated that  on 11.1.2008,  the I.O. received a secret  information
 that the accused persons Sukhmeet Singh, Gurinder,  Jatinder  and  Jaspreet
had been seen moving near the office of DIG to surrender before  the  police
whereupon,  they were arrested thereat and cell phones were  recovered  from
their possession  vide  Ex.  PF/1  to  PF/3.    He  also  stated  about  the
disclosures made by the accused  persons  following  which  various  amounts
were recovered  from the places shown  by them. Vis-a-vis,  Sukhmeet  Singh,
he stated that  the revolver of the  victim  was  also  recovered  from  the
living room of the accused.    He further testified that on  the  disclosure
of the accused appellant Sukhmeet  Singh  subsequent  thereto,   along  with
cash of Rs. 25 lakhs, one revolver of .32 bore bearing  No.  B-3211  wrapped
in a  plastic packet was  recovered  from  the  room  of  his  house.    The
witness  stated  that  the    cash   as   well   as   the   other   articles
recovered/seized were duly deposited in the malkhana.
             He  further  deposed  that  on  the  basis  of  another  secret
information received on 18.1.2008,  appellant  Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota  was
arrested and acting on his disclosure statement,   cash  together  with  one
country made pistol and  one live cartridge wrapped  in  a   plastic  packet
was recovered from underneath a tree on a Jandiala Road  as  shown  by  him.
The witness stated as well about   further  disclosure  statements  made  by
the appellant Sukhmeet  following which Honda City car HR  16  F  7337   was
recovered from near the well  of Gurinder Singh @ Ginda at village Bir  Pind
kept parked under the cover of standing maize crop.  The  witness  confirmed
the recovery  of one driving licence, registration certificate,  tape  roll,
small scissor and black string  from  the  dicky  of  car  which  were  duly
seized vide recovery memo Ex. PO/2. The witness also identified these  items
when confronted therewith. He also stated about  the  collection  of  finger
prints on the car by a finger print expert.
            He also stated about the arrest of accused  Harpreet  Singh  and
recovery  of  mobile  phone  from   him.    He   referred  to  a  disclosure
statement made by said accused person leading to discovery of Rs. 3.5  lakhs
from the almirah of his house.  That  a Qualis Car bearing number PB  10  AY
4144  was  also recovered on the disclosure statement made  by  the  accused
Harpreet was stated by the witness.
            He did similarly  mention about the arrest of  accused  Surinder
Singh  and  recovery  of  Rs.  1,05,000  on  the  basis  of  his  disclosure
statement, from the roof of motor at village Mullewal  Arian  wrapped  in  a
plastic envelope.  The witness stated as well about the  arrest  of  accused
Rupinder Pal and the recovery of cash from him.
            In his cross-examination, the witness conceded  that the  arrest
memo pertaining to Sukhmeet did not contain either  his  signature   or  the
signature of any public witness. He however  denied  that  the  memo  was  a
forged one. He  asserted to have  attested the disclosure statement  of  the
appellant Sukhmeet  Singh which had led to the recovery of  the  Honda  City
car, otherwise kept concealed.  His statement made  in  the  course  of  his
further cross-examination,  being neither of   any  particular  significance
nor referred to in  course of the arguments,  are not  being  dilated  upon.

            PW5 Kashmir Singh, Finger Print  Expert  and  photographer  from
Finger Print Bureau, Phillaur,  stated that on 21.1.2008, he had taken   the
photographs of the chance prints on the window panes of the  front  door  of
the Honda city car bearing HR 16F 7337 and also  on the rear mirror   fitted
thereto.   He claimed to have prepared negatives of the  chance  prints  and
had compiled the report on the basis thereof which he proved Ex. PW5/A.
            In cross-examination, he stated that the prints  were  available
on the glass surface and he did not rule out any other  type  of  print.  He
also stated that the prints collected were   of  the  palm  surface  of  the
hand.   He also did not enquire as to who had marked the chance prints.
            PW8 Inspector Satish Kumar Malhotra, S.H.O. P.S., Phillaur,   is
the investigating officer. He testified  that on 11.1.2008,  he  was  posted
at Police Station  Nurmahal and while on patrol duty, he received  a  secret
information that four persons, who had  kidnapped  Gagan  Mahendrau  at  gun
point and had  abducted him in a Honda City car with a  purpose  to  extract
ransom. He deposed to have forwarded the information  for  the  registration
of the FIR and thereafter  visited the place of occurrence, where  he  could
not find any one present.   According to him, he visited the same spot  with
other police personnel on 12.1.2008 and happened to  meet,  amongst  others,
the victim and his father Subhash Mahendru there.  On the basis of a  secret
information received on 13.1.2008, the witness  stated   to  have  recovered
the victim's Lancer Car bearing No.  PB 08 BA 4700 parked  near  Taj  Hotel,
Garah Road, Jalandhar. He summoned  the  finger  print  expert  and  on  the
completion of the exercise undertaken by the latter, handed over the car  to
the victim on the completion of necessary formalities.
            The witness stated that on  14.1.2008,  from  the  call  details
collected, amongst others the appellant Sukhmeet @  Deputy  was  a  suspect,
whereupon he was arrested.   The witness stated that on  16.1.2008,  on  the
basis of a secret information, the appellant Sukhmeet  was  arrested   along
with  Jatinder, whereupon on their search,  mobile  phones  were  recovered.
He also  referred  to  the  disclosure  statements  made  by  the  appellant
Sukhmeet Singh and Jatinder, on the basis of which,   cash of Rs.  25  lakhs
and Rs. 10 lakhs  respectively were recovered from  their  residences,  kept
in the plastic bags. According to the  witness,  acting  on  the  disclosure
statement of appellant Sukhmeet,  one  revolver  of  the  victim   was  also
recovered from his house.   Similarly,  after the arrest of  Gurinder  Singh
@ Ginda, Jasbir Singh @ Jassi, Jatinder Singh @  Sabbi,   on  the  basis  of
their disclosure statements, different  amounts  in  lakhs   were  recovered
from the  places  indicated by them.   A .32 bore revolver  bearing  No.  B-
3211 was also recovered on a  later  disclosure statement of  the  appellant
Sukhmeet Singh @ Deputy.  Subsequent  thereto,  according  to  the  witness,
again acting on the secret information, appellant Harpal Singh @ Chhota  was
arrested  and one mobile phone was  recovered  from  his  possession.  These
accused  persons  also  made  disclosure  statements  and  acting   thereon,
currency notes were  recovered  along  with  a  pistol  along  with  a  live
cartridge  from beneath a tree near canal Jandiala.   This  witness  further
deposed that the appellant Sukhmeet Singh also made a  disclosure  statement
pursuant whereto, the Honda City car HR-16-F 7337 used in the commission  of
offense was recovered being  parked  near  the  well  of  accused  Ginda  at
Village Beer being kept camouflage   by standing maize crop  thereat.    The
witness also  stated that on the search of the  car,  two  iron  chains,   a
small scissor, tape roll, a black colour rope and a driving licence  in  the
name of the victim were recovered from the dickey of the  car.   The  finger
print expert also took the photographs of the prints available on  the  car.
 That  a hole was also detected  in the rear seat of the car  was  mentioned
in particular by the witness.   He also stated about the arrest  of  accused
Harpreet Singh and  Surinder Singh  as  well,  following  which  the  phones
mobile were  recovered  from  them.  These  accused  also  made  disclosures
following which recoveries of  huge  cash  kept  in  plastic  envelopes  was
effected.  Apart from getting recorded the statement of  the victim and  his
father Subhash under  Section  164  Cr.PC.,  the  witness  claimed  to  have
obtained the call details of mobile phones of  the  accused  recovered  from
accused persons. He also  identified  the   seized  articles  including  the
Honda City  and Lancer cars at  the  trial  and  identified   and  exhibited
other items like, revolver, iron chain, tape rolls, currency notes etc.  The
witness, in course of his testimony mentioned that   on  every  occasion  of
seizure, he had completed the  necessary  legal  formalities  in  connection
therewith.
            In his cross-examination, the witness admitted that  the  victim
 had in his statement before him not  mentioned  particularly  about  Harpal
Singh @ Chhota, He also admitted, that no TIP of  the  accused  persons  had
been conducted. According to him, he did make an application for  such  TIP,
but the same was dismissed as the accused persons refused to participate  in
the process. He denied the suggestion, that the appellant Harpal  Singh  had
not  refused to take part in the TIP.    He admitted of a  press  conference
held on 17.1.2008, in which Senior Superintendent of Police,  Jalandhar  had
participated  but expressed his ignorance  as to whether in  the  news  item
dated 18.1.2008,  it was suggested that there was a possibility of  recovery
of a country made pistol. According to this witness, this news item was  got
published by the  accused  persons.   He  denied  the   suggestion  that  no
pistol/cartridge  was recovered from the house of the accused  Harpal  Singh
@ Chhota. The remaining statements  made  by  this  witness  in  the  cross-
examination  are not of any added significance and further   have  also  not
been referred to or relied upon in course of the arguments.
            PWs 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 are those, who on oath,  stated  to  have
lent different amounts to the father  of  the  victim  to  meet  the  ransom
demand. Of these witnesses, PW 14 in particular,  claimed to  have  put  his
identification marks on the packets of currency  notes  like   KK,  AS,  Jai
Hanuman etc.  and on the basis thereof, he  identified at  the  trial,   the
same when shown to him.   The common trend  of cross- examination  of  these
witnesses had been to elicit from them that there  was  nothing  in  writing
to endorse such  loan and that  there was  no   transaction  routed  through
the bank as evidence thereof.
            PW23 H.C. Kamaljit Singh deposed that  on  23.1.2008  he  was  a
member of the police party, in-charge of  the  investigation  of  the  case.
According to him, appellant Harpal Singh @ Chhota present in the  court  and
who was then in police custody,  made a disclosure statement  signed by  him
and further led the police party to the eastern side of  Jandiala,  Nurmahal
Canal, from where he dug out a country made pistol wrapped  in  a  polythene
bag together with cash amounting to Rs. 65000/-.  The  witness  stated  that
the recovered pistol was seized by memo  PW23/A  on  which   he  along  with
others  put their endorsements by way of attestation.
            In cross-examination,  the  witness  however  admitted  that  no
independent witness was present when the disclosure statement was  recorded.
He however denied that neither such statement  had  been  recorded  nor  was
any recovery caused on the basis thereof and in his presence.
            PW24 Sumesh Makkar proved the call details of cell phone  number
94636-12914  of Prabhjeet Singh,  absconder  accused.  In  this  regard,  he
amongst others,  proved  the necessary documents to establish that the  said
accused person had applied for such connection.
            PW25 Damandeep  Singh,  Nodal  Officer,  Vodafone,  Essar  South
Limited, Mohali,  deposed with regard to  the mobile SIM number  99881-31831
standing in the name of  Manjinder  Singh  r/o  VPO  Malsian  Patti,  Saltan
Nagar, Jalandhar.   Apart from  proving the  documents,   on  the  basis  of
which  the mobile connection was obtained by the  holder  thereof  as  named
herein above, the witness also  proved  computer generated  details  of  the
said cell phone for the period 9.1.2008  to  16.1.2008  in  the  form  of  a
printed copy which, he  asserted was the true extract of the  relevant  data
created in the usual and ordinary  course of  business  and  stored  in  the
hard disc of the company server.  He  exhibited  the  call  details  as  Ex.
PW25/C.
           Though this witness  was  formally  cross-examined,  not  even  a
suggestion was made  that  the call details so  proved,   were  inadmissible
in law due to non-compliance of the  requirements  of  Section  65B  of  the
Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (hereinafter to be called as “the Act”).
            PW26 Sunil Rana, Nodal Officer, Bharti Airtel  Limited,  Mohali,
aside the necessary records  with regard to   the  applications   pertaining
to SIM number  98151-  58151  recovered  from  accused  Jatinder  Singh  and
standing in the name of Iqbal Singh,   98154-03503  standing in the name  of
accused Surinder Singh,  98150-29026 in the name of Davinder  Kumar,  98760-
87794 of Jaspal Singh, 98760-63085 of Amrik Singh, 98766-81782  of  Pavittar
Singh, 98158-54784  of Varinder Singh  and  98723-00707  of  Pradeep  Singh,
also proved the call details  pertaining  to  these   cell  phones  for  the
period 8.1.2008 to 31.1.2008  and  exhibited  the  corresponding  documents.
This witness stated that  the call details proved, were  computer  generated
and in the shape of printed copy which were true  extracts of  the  relevant
data created in the usual and ordinary course of business and stored on  the
hard disc of the company server.
                 In cross-examination, the witness expressed ignorance  with
regard to the names  of  the  accused  persons  and  further  admitted  that
though the tower numbers  qua the calls were not mentioned, the  tower  cell
I.Ds.  were  referred to.
                 PW27 Soaravdeep Singh, Nodal Officer, Spice  Communications
Limited, Mohali  proved the location list of all the towers of  his  company
during January 2008 with the cell I.D. of various towers and  exhibited  the
said document as Ex. PW27/A. He  also   proved  the  call  details  for  the
period 9.1.2008 to 16.1.2008 relating to  mobile  SIM  numbers  98140-60441,
98148-81082 (recovered from accused  Gurinder)  and  98553-64086  (recovered
from appellant Sukhmeet) and  99144-16396 of  Naresh  Kumar   and  exhibited
the documents  with regard thereto separately.
                 In cross-examination, the witness clarified that  the  cell
numbers  98148-81082  and  98553-64086  functioned  between   11.1.2008   to
16.1.2008 whereas the others were  not put  to  use   after  10.1.2008.   He
further asserted that the call details had  been  issued  by  him  from  the
computer which was under his control and did bear his signature on  each  of
the pages. He conceded  however  that  no  certificate  of  correctness  was
appended thereto.   The witness  clarified  that  the  calls  were  computer
generated which did not admit  of  any  manual  intervention.   He  admitted
further  that the call details did refer to cell I.D. indicating  the  tower
location. According to him, no document  was  taken  into  custody   by  the
police from  him  under  his  signature.   He  admitted  as  well  that  the
documents produced by him do not bear the  date  of  their  preparation  and
further there was no reference of the server therein as well.
6.          To complete the narration of the evidence adduced,  apposite  it
would be  to briefly  survey the testimony of the defence witnesses.
            DW1 Gurdeep Singh, who was then  the   Senior  Assistant,  State
Bank of India, New Grain Market, Jalandhar proved the statement  of  account
in the name of Jarnail Singh, father of appellant Sukhmeet  for  the  period
30.6.2007 to 30.6.2008 which disclosed, amongst others that the  holder  had
withdrawn Rs. 10 lakhs from his account  on 7.11.2007.
            DW2 Naginder Singh deposed about   the  proposed  sale   of  the
land of Jarnail Singh situated at village Rasoolpur for  Rs.  32  lakhs  and
further  that on the basis of an written agreement, he had paid  by  way  of
Rs. 8 lakhs by way of  advance on 6.12.2007 and  further  Rs.  6  lakhs   on
21.12.2007 to Jarnail Singh. The witness however admitted that due  to  some
financial compulsions, the finalization of the  deal  had  to  be  deferred.
In cross-examination, the witness conceded that  the  stamp  papers  of  the
agreement had been purchased by Jarnail Singh, 1/2 months  earlier  thereto.
  He however denied  the  suggestion  that  the  written  agreement  Ex.  D2
referred to by him was a fabricated document.
                 DW3 Jarnail Singh, father of the appellant  Sukhmeet  Singh
in substance  testified that  the false implication of his son in  the  case
was  motivated by political rivalry.  He  deposed  that  on  14.1.2008,  the
police raided his house and  and had taken away Rs. 25 lakhs  which  he  had
kept  for purchasing land near Jalandhar.  According  to  him,  out  of  the
said amount,  Rs. 10 lakhs had been withdrawn by him from the bank and  that
the  rest had been  deposited with him by way of advance money  for  selling
his land to Naginder  Singh  and  Manmohan  Singh.  According  to  him,  the
agreement for sale of his land had been scribed on 6.12.2007  on  the  stamp
paper purchased by him.
            DW8 Sushil  Kumar  on  oath  stated  that  he  belonged  to  the
Congress Party and accused  Jatinder Singh @ Sabbi  was  his  supporter.  He
also referred to  recent  confrontations  with  the  members  of  the  rival
political party during some elections for which  criminal cases had also  to
be registered.  According to the witness,  accused Jatinder  Singh  @  Sabbi
had been falsely implicated in the case.
7.          Mounting challenge to the  decision  impugned,  Mr.  R.  Basant,
learned senior counsel arguing  for the appellant  in  Appeal  No.  2539  of
2014, has insistently urged that having regard to the  evidence  adduced  by
the prosecution, the  complicity  of  the  accused  Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota
remains unproved.  According to  him,  the  charge  of  this  accused  being
either a part of the alleged conspiracy  or  a  partner   in  the  execution
thereof, is belied by the materials on record.  The learned  senior  counsel
has maintained that the sequence of events, as sought to be unfolded by  the
prosecution, warrant  that  the  roles  of  the  accused  persons  allegedly
involved be analysed individually in  order  to  determine  the  nature  and
extent of  their  involvement.   Mr.  Basant  asserted  that  not  only  the
evidence forthcoming  after the arrest of Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota  together
with the recovery of cash or fire arm and the Honda City  car  does  not  in
any way establish any nexus  with him and the crime perpetrated,  the  calls
details  of  the  cell  phones  said  to  have  been  involved  are  per  se
inadmissible in evidence in the face  of   apparent  non-compliance  of  the
mandatory prescriptions of Section 65B  of  the  Act.   The  learned  senior
counsel underlined that the finger prints collected from the Honda City  car
did not match with  that of any of the accused persons  sent  up  for  trial
and in absence of the TIP, their identity, as participants in  the  offence,
has also remained  unproved.  The learned senior  counsel  was  particularly
emphatic  on the aspect that the victim noticeably   did not either name  or
refer to the appellant  Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota  in  his  statements  under
Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C., which were the  earliest in point of time,  to
be one of his abductors and that he sought to improve on him by  naming  him
only at the trial.  The learned senior counsel   maintained   as  well  that
the inexplicable omission on the part of the prosecution to  examine  Chetan
Chopra, the friend of the victim, who  had  accompanied  him  in  the  first
round of discussion on the land deal, laid as a  preface  according  to  the
prosecution, culminating in the abduction,  renders  the  charge,  doubtful.
According to Mr. Basant,  the examination of the appellant  Harpal  Singh  @
Chhota under Section 313  Cr.P.C.  had  been  general  and  omnibus  without
laying the specific incriminating circumstances against him, thus,   denying
him the opportunity to explain  the  same.   On  this  count  as  well,  the
impugned conviction is unsustainable in law and is liable to  be  set-aside,
he urged.  In buttressal of the plea  against  admissibility  of  the  calls
details, the learned senior counsel has placed reliance on the  decision  of
this Court in Anvar P.V. vs. P.K. Basheer and others (2014) 10 SCC 473.
                 Mr. Subromaniam Parsad,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 388 of 2015 in supplementation   repudiated
the testimony of the victim in particular in identifying appellant  Sukhmeet
 @ Deputy to be one of his abductors.    He has urged that  it  having  been
admitted by the victim that the appellant Sukhmeet  was known  to  him  from
before the incident, reference about him by his  nick-name  Deputy,  renders
his testimony to this  effect  wholly  untrustworthy.   The  learned  senior
counsel has  similarly dismissed the  recovery/seizure  of  currency  notes,
fire-arms and the Honda City car in particular, as unworthy of any  reliance
or significance, besides being  effected without  adhering  to  the  legally
prescribed  procedure, therefor.    Referring  to the evidence of  DW1,  DW2
and DW3 in particular, about the  seizure of cash from the house of  Jarnail
Singh, the father of appellant Sukhmeet Singh, Mr. Prasad has insisted  that
this amount had no nexus at all  with the ransom money, said  to  have  been
paid.  He discarded as well  the endeavour on the part  of  the  prosecution
through PW14 to identify  some  of  the  currency  notes  on  the  basis  of
initials/names  written  on  some  of  the  packets  containing   the  same.
According to the learned senior counsel, the prosecution has utterly  failed
 to adduce  unimpeachable evidence  to  establish  the  culpability  of  the
appellants and thus the impugned decision, as a whole, is liable to  be  set
at naught.
                 Per contra, the learned counsel for  the  respondent-State,
has maintained that the evidence adduced  when considered in entirety,  does
establish the indictment against all the accused persons  convicted,  beyond
all reasonable doubt.  He urged that the prosecution has been successful  in
substantiating the involvement of the accused persons in the  nefarious  and
willful design of theirs to abduct the victim for ransom and  having  regard
to the gravity of the proved offences, no interference is  called  for.   In
particular,  he  has  contended  that  the  defence  having  failed  in  its
endeavour to de-link  the currency notes, seized  from the house of  Jarnail
Singh, the father of the appellant Sukhmeet Singh  from   the  ransom  money
paid, he is not entitled to any benefit  therefrom.
8.          We have  extended  our  thoughtful  scrutiny  to  the  materials
available on record as  well  as  the  competing  arguments  based  thereon.
Admittedly, the only eye witness to the  actual  act  of  abduction  is  the
victim himself who had suffered the ordeal.  He thereafter  encountered  the
treatment meted out to him in captivity and is  privy  too,  to  the  ransom
claim made by his abductors to  his  father.   The  statement  made  by  the
victim (PW1) under Section  161   Cr.P.C.  though  had  outlined  the  whole
incident in the bare  essentials, his version under Section 164 Cr.P.C.  and
at the trial are  adequately elaborate to project the  whole  gamut  of  the
development, commencing  from  his  forcible  abduction  till  his  release.
There is as such no mutually mutative inconsistency in the three  renditions
of his, so as to render the prosecution case untrustworthy  and  discardable
on all counts.  True,  it  is  that  the  victim  in  his  statements  under
Sections  161 and 164 Cr.P.C. did not  specifically   name  Harpal  Singh  @
Chhota, while naming the other abductors who were the occupants as  well  of
the Honda City car in the dickey of which he was abducted, he  did  identify
and involve this appellant/accused during his testimony at the  trial.   Not
only, in our  comprehension,  it  is  likely  that  in  his  bewildered  and
perplexed state of mind at  the  relevant  point  of  time,  he  might  have
omitted  to  name  Harpal  Singh  @  Chhota,  in  the  face  of  the   other
overwhelming evidence and materials on record, nothing  much  turns  thereon
in favour of the defence.
                 The progression of events as unveiled   by  the  testimony,
in   particular of the victim and supported by his father PW2, reveals  that
the first caller to initiate the negotiations for the  land  deal  to  which
the victim was drawn, was  Gurinder  Singh  @  Ginda.   The  victim  in  his
deposition has in details narrated the  developments  thereafter   which  do
indicate the keenness on the part of the negotiators to  entrap  the  victim
in the bargain, by gradually building his confidence in  the  same  and   in
the proponents.  These endeavours, as the prosecution has asserted,   really
 were the build  up  steps  as  a  part  of  the  conspiratorial  scheme  to
eventually culminate in the abduction  of  the  victim  for  realisation  of
ransom  in return.    Noticeably the perpetrators  did not betray any  haste
on their part and designedly took their time  to  strike  at  the  opportune
moment.
                 The evidence of  the  victim  (PW1)  as  a  whole,  in  our
estimate,  is  truthful,  having  regard  to  the  details  provided    with
accompanying clarity and conviction.  His elaborate testimony not only   has
projected  the stage-wise developments  following  his  abduction  till  his
release, the same has remained unshaken  substantially even   by his  cross-
examination.  This witness not only   had  the  opportunity  of  seeing  his
abductors but also had heard their exchanges  by  referring  to  their  nick
names.  He was in their company and under their surveillance for almost  two
days in course whereof  they not only  interacted  with  him  but  also  had
closely  followed  his  conversion   with  his  father   on  more  than  one
occasion on the aspect of  ransom.   Apart  from  the  fact  that  there  is
nothing  convincing on record to even infer any  false  implication  of  the
accused persons, we are of the unhesitant  opinion that  the  mere  omission
on the part of the victim to mention at  the  first  instance  the  name  of
appellant Harpal Singh @ Chhota, having regard to the charge  of  conspiracy
and the concerted steps, to actualise the same is of  no  fatal  bearing  on
the prosecution case, more particularly he having  named/identified  him  at
the trial as one of the perpetrators of the offence.  In  this  perspective,
the omission on the part of the investigating agency to hold the TIP is  not
fatal, in the facts and circumstances of the case.
                 In the face of the overall evidence on  record,  the  above
purported  deficiencies do not at all  detract  from  the  veracity  of  the
prosecution case .
                 The evidence adduced vis-a-vis  the  stage  wise   recovery
of the  currency  notes,  fire-arms,  the  Honda  City  car  etc.  from  the
successive disclosures made by the accused persons also do  establish  their
complicity in the offence.  The testimony of  the  witnesses  to  the  above
effect  authenticate that the procedure  prescribed  by  law  for  effecting
such seizures had been complied with.  The factum of each   discovery  based
on the disclosures of the accused persons is not only a relevant fact  under
Section 27 of the Act but  also  noticeably  has  not  been  very  seriously
disputed by the defence.  These seized  articles   have  been  produced  and
identified in the court by the witnesses as  well.   The  testimony  of  the
lenders and that of PW14 in particular, identifying some of the  packets  of
the currency notes by the initials or the names as  labelled   by  him  also
cannot be lightly ignored.  PW2,  the  father  of  the  victim,  apart  from
stating generally about the  abduction  of  his  son  and  his  release  has
however  in minutest details described the particulars of the  ransom  calls
received and his desperate endeavours to collect the amount  to  the  extent
possible within the dead line of time to save  his  son  in  distress.   The
witnesses examined by the prosecution as the  lenders of  different  amounts
not only were referred to by this witness in his  deposition,  to  reiterate
they also endorsed to have responded to his clarion call.
                 Having regard to the series of frightful experiences  which
the victim had to encounter during his captivity of a period of  almost  two
days in the scary company of his abductors  and the fearful moments that  he
had to  pass  under  the  constant  threat  of  being  killed  by  them,  as
threatened from time  to  time,  it  is  natural   that  he  must  have  had
sufficient opportunity to  note  their features  to enable him to   identify
them even by their looks at a later point of  time.    That  the  abductors,
during the relevant time, had intimidated the victim as well as  his  father
that if the ransom amount demanded is not paid in time,  the  hostage  would
be done away with, has been stated  on oath by both of them in   categorical
terms.   The manner in which  the victim  was  abducted   and  was   shifted
from place to place parallely following up the demand of ransom   under  the
threat of his elimination leaves no manner of doubt that  they had  resorted
to  a plot  to extract  a handsome amount   by  way  of  ransom   under  the
threat to the  life of  victim.   We  are  thus  left  unconvinced   by  the
defence plea of  want of  identification  of  the  abductors  including  the
appellants.  The omission on the  part  of  the  victim  to   refer  to  the
appellant Sukhmeet by his name instead of his  nick-name  Deputy  also  does
not  appeal to us.  The victim in his deposition has clarified that   though
he knew Sukhmeet Singh was  a Municipal  Councillor,  but  had  no  personal
intimacy with him  so as to be able to identify him  by seeing him.
9.          Noticeably all the recoveries,  be it of currency  notes,  fire-
arms, the cars and the seizures of various articles therefrom  have been  on
the basis of disclosures made by the  accused  persons  from  time  to  time
which were duly recorded in the presence of the witnesses,  as  required  in
law.   Not only the Honda  City  car   proved  to  have  been  used  in  the
commission of the offence was traced  out  being parked  near  the  well  of
the accused Gurinder Singh @ Ginda  under the cover of standing  maize  crop
thereat, the seizure, amongst others of the  driving licence of  the  victim
from the dicky thereof lends  formidable support to the credibility  of  the
prosecution  case.    In  all  the  cases  of  recovery,  as  the   evidence
demonstrates, the accused persons including the appellants after making  the
related  disclosures  had  led  the  investigating  agency  to  the   places
wherefrom seizures were made. That the seized articles were  duly  deposited
in the appropriate custody and were produced at the trial and identified  by
the witnesses  are also matters of record.
10.   It is no longer res integra that the  “fact discovered”  as  envisaged
under Section 27 of the Act, in consequence  of  any   information  received
from a person in the custody of a police officer, embraces  the  place  from
which any object is produced  and the knowledge of the accused  as  to  this
provided the information  given relate distinctively to  the  fact,  as  had
been held  by the Privy Council in Pullukuri Kotayya  and  others  vs.  King
Emperror, AIR 1947 PC 67. This enunciation, hallowed by time, has  been  oft
quoted  with  approval  by  this  Court  in   a   plethora   of   subsequent
pronouncements  while interpreting the scope and purport of the above  legal
provision.
                 Amongst others in Bodhraj @ Bodha and Others vs.  State  of
Jamu & Kashmir (2002) 8 SCC 45, it has been elucidated   that  the  doctrine
is founded on the principle that if any fact is discovered in a search  made
on the strength of any information obtained from a prisoner,  while  in  the
custody of a police officer, such  a  discovery  is  a  guarantee  that  the
information supplied  by the prisoner is true.   It had been held  that  the
information may be confessional or non inculpatory  in  nature,  but  if  it
results in discovery of facts, it becomes a reliable information.
                 It is unnecessary, in view of such  a  settled   propounded
legal postulation to multiply authorities   on  the  point.  Suffice  it  to
state  in the backdrop of the state of law  on  the  admissibility   of  the
information  of a person accused of any offence  in the custody of a  police
officer so far as it relates distinctly  to  the  fact  thereby  discovered,
the irresistible conclusion in the facts of the case in hand  is  that   the
disclosures made by the  accused  persons  leading  to  the  recoveries  and
seizures  are indeed relevant  facts  in  support  of  the  charge  levelled
against them.
11.         Qua the admissibility of the call details, it  is  a  matter  of
record that  though PWs 24, 25,  26  and 27 have  endeavoured  to  prove  on
the basis of the printed copy of the computer generated call details    kept
in usual ordinary course of business and  stored  in  a  hard  disc  of  the
company server,  to co-relate  the calls  made from and to  the cell  phones
 involved including  those,  amongst  others   recovered  from  the  accused
persons,  the prosecution has failed to   adduce   a  certificate  relatable
thereto  as required under Section 65B(4)  of  the  Act.   Though  the  High
Court,  in its impugned  judgment,   while  dwelling  on  this  aspect,  has
dismissed the plea of inadmissibility of  such  call  details  by  observing
that all the stipulations contained under Section 65 of  the  Act  had  been
complied with,  in the teeth of the  decision of this Court  in  Anvar  P.V.
(supra) ordaining an inflexible adherence to the  enjoinments   of  Sections
65B(2) and (4) of the Act, we are  unable  to  sustain   this  finding.   As
apparently  the prosecution has relied upon the secondary  evidence  in  the
form of printed copy of the call details,  even assuming  that  the  mandate
of Section 65B(2) had been complied with, in absence of a certificate  under
Section 65B(4),  the same  has to be held inadmissible in evidence.
                 This Court in Anvar P.V. (supra) has held in  no  uncertain
terms that the evidence  relating  to  electronic  record  being  a  special
provision, the general law on secondary evidence under Section 63 read  with
Section 65 of the Act would have to yield thereto. It  has  been  propounded
that any electric record  in  the  form  of  secondary  evidence  cannot  be
admitted in evidence unless the requirements of Section 65B  are  satisfied.
This conclusion of ours is inevitable in  view  of  the  exposition  of  law
pertaining to  Sections 65A and 65B of the Act as above.
12          Be that as it may,  on an overall   assessment  of  the   entire
gamut of evidence,  we are of the comprehension that the   charges   against
the accused persons including the appellants stand proved beyond  reasonable
doubt even sans the call details.   To  reiterate,   the   gravamen  of  the
imputations  levelled against them  is that of conspiracy  and abduction  of
the victim pursuant thereto  for ransom  by detaining him under  the  threat
to cause death or hurt  and thereby to compel  his  father   to  meet  their
demand.
13.         As it is,  as has been  exposited  by  this  Court   on  umpteen
occasions,  conspiracy requires an act i.e. actus reus and  an  accompanying
mental state i.e. mens rea.  Whereas the agreement constitutes the act,  the
intention to achieve the unlawful objectives of the agreement comprises  the
required mental state.  This Court in  Ferozuddin  Basheeruddin  and  Others
vs. State of Kerala (2001)7 SCC 596 held  that conspiracy is  a  clandestine
activity and by the sheer nature thereof,  an agreement to that  effect  can
rarely  be  established  by  direct  proof   and  must  be  inferred    from
circumstantial evidence of cooperation between  the  conspirators.   It  has
been enunciated that conspiracy is not only a  substantive  crime  but  also
serves as a basis for holding one person liable  for  the  crime  of  others
where application of the usual doctrines  of  complicity  would  not  render
that person liable and thus  the test  of   the  role  of  a  co-conspirator
would  be decisively  significant   in  determining  the  liability  of  the
others in the face of the supervening fact that the crime was  performed  as
a  part of a larger division  of  labour  to  which  the  accused  had  also
contributed  his  efforts.   Qua  the  admissibility  of  evidence,  it  was
proclaimed that  loosened  standards  prevail  in  a  conspiracy  trial  and
contrary to the usual role, in conspiracy prosecutions, any  declaration  by
one conspirator  made  in  furtherance  of  a  conspiracy   and  during  its
pendency,  is admissible against each  co-conspirator.   It was  thus  ruled
that conspirators are liable on an agency theory by the  statements  of  co-
conspirators, just as they are for the overt acts and crimes   committed  by
their confreres.
                 In a later pronouncement in  Mir Nagvi Askari  vs.  Central
Bureau of Investigation (2009)15 SCC 643,   it was ruled in  the  same  vein
that while drawing an inference from the materials   brought  on  record  to
arrive at a finding as to whether the charge  of  the  criminal   conspiracy
had been proved or not, it must be  borne  in  mind  that  a  conspiracy  is
hatched in secrecy and it  is  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to   obtain
direct  evidence to establish the same.     The


following extract from the decision in Mohd. Amin Vs. CBI (2008) 15  SCC  49
was  quoted with approval:
“74. The principles which can be deduced  from  the  above-noted   judgments
are that for proving a charge of conspiracy, it is not  necessary  that  all
the conspirators know each and every detail of the  conspiracy  so  long  as
they are co-participators in the main object of  conspiracy.    It  is  also
not necessary that  all  the  conspirators   should  participate   from  the
inception of conspiracy to  its  end.   If  there  is  unity  of  object  or
purpose, all participating at different stages of the crime will  be  guilty
of conspiracy.”

            As would be patent from the above excerpt  that qua a charge  of
conspiracy, it is not necessary  that  all  the  conspirators   should  know
each and every detail of the plot  so long as they are  co-participators  in
the main object thereof and  it is also  not  necessary  that  all  of  them
should participate from the inception of the stratagem  till  the  end,  the
determinative  factor,  being  unity  of  object  or  purpose   and    their
participation at different stages.    Such  is  therefore  the  encompassing
sweep of culpability  of an offence of conspiracy, if proved, even from  the
established attendant circumstances.
14.   Having regard to  the proved facts  and the state  of  law,   adverted
to hereinabove,  we are of  the  considered view  that  the prosecution  has
been able to prove the charges levelled against  the  appellants.  Both  the
courts below have  analysed the evidence in the  correct  perspectives   and
in the face of the conclusions  recorded  on the different  aspects  of  the
imputations levelled   against  them,  we  are  of  the   opinion  that   no
interference  is called for  with the impugned judgment of  conviction   and
sentence recorded against them.  The appeals thus fail  and  are  dismissed.
Registry is directed to transmit the original  record  to  the  Trial  Court
immediately.



               …...........................................J.
                                   (A.K. SIKRI)




                       …..........................................J.
                                  (AMITAVA ROY)
NEW DELHI;
NOVEMBER 21, 2016.

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