Police use same people as Panchas

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By Sangamesh Menasinakai, ENS – HUBLI

02nd October 2012 10:41 AM

Serial criminals are a common phenomenon, but have you heard of serial witnesses? In a shocking revelation it has been found that the Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissionerate is using the same people as witnesses (panchas) in different cases thereby compromising the investigations.

As a result, the rate of conviction has been decreasing for the last 8-10 years.

According to documents available with Express, Gangadhar Gurushiddappa Hugar, Basappa Shivasangappa Sangamashettar and three to four other persons are ‘working’ as witnesses in hundreds of cases.

The matter came to light during a trial.

Gangadhar, a witness in the case, has said in an affidavit submitted to Judicial Magistrate of First Class Court-1 that he is being used as a pancha by all police stations in Hubli-Dharwad for 8 to 10 years and that he has signed as a witness in about 600 cases.

“I am on the court campus daily and involved as a witness in at least one to two cases per day,” he has stated. He has concluded his statement by saying, “I am not involved in a nexus of professional criminals.”

Another ‘witness’ in the case Basappa Sangamashettar, a watchman in a cinema theatre, has said in an affidavit that he is an illiterate but has been a witness for all police stations of Hubli city for the last three to four years as he has “Faith in the police”.

Both have clarified that they are not getting money for the ‘service’.

There are rumours that police themselves put signatures of such witnesses openly as there is no procedure of asking the identity proof of witnesses in courts.

Denying the allegation of negligence in investigations, Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner B A Padmanayan said he would look into the matter

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