Illegal hoardings case: 11 years on, Cong leader acquitted

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A metropolitan magistrate's court recently acquitted a Congress leader charged with illegally putting up cutouts 11 years ago. Bandra resident Ashok Jagtap, also known as Bhai Jagatp, was granted the relief after magistrate M B Patwari observed that there was no evidence to show his involvement in putting up the hoardings.

"It can be said that certain cutouts were raised opposite Eros Cinema in violation of the model of conduct in force at the relevant time due to Parliament elections. However, that will not be sufficient to hold the accused guilty for such violation," the magistrate said.

Jagtap was charged under section three of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, Maharashtra, 1995. An FIR was registered at Azad Maidan police station on April 29 2004, by a senior inspector, licence, of BMC.

The inspector deposed that on March 1, 2004, he was assigned with the duty to give permission for erecting hoardings. He also deposed that due to elections, the model code of conduct was in force and erection of hoardings or advertisement boards was not permitted.

The court, however, said that the inspector had candidly admitted that he had not seen who had raised the cutouts and when. "His testimony does not suggest that cutouts were erected on the instance of the accused or as per his directions," the court observed.

The court also referred to a statement of another witness, an assistant commissioner of police.

"In the cross-examination he has admitted that he did not find any document to show that the accused gave instructions for raising the cutouts. He also admitted that he did not get direct evidence as to who had raised the cutouts," the magistrate said.

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