New Delhi, Mar 13: A man, accused of encroaching a public park here and threatening MCD employees 19 years ago, has been acquitted by a Delhi court which refused to rely on the testimony of a civic body official saying it was "vague" and "vacillating".
Metropolitan Magistrate Anuj Agarwal let off the man, who was charged with the offence of criminal trespass under the IPC and Delhi Preservation of Trees Act in 1999, saying he deserved benefit of doubt as the MCD official's testimony did not inspire confidence.
"I am of the view that his (MCD officer) testimony is not of sterling quality. It is not clear from his testimony if he saw accused encroaching upon the MCD park. Rather, he deposed vaguely that on inquiry, he found that the construction was being carried out by the accused," the magistrate said.
The court also noted that during cross examination, the official deposed he does not remember whether accused was present on the spot.
"Therefore, it is clear that the witness has been taking vacillating stand and therefore his testimony does not inspire much confidence of this court and it would be unsafe to convict the accused on his sole testimony as very presence of accused on the spot has become doubtful," it said.
Proceedings against two other accused were abated as they died during pendency of the trial. According to the prosecution, in April 1999, the three accused persons trespassed by doing illegal construction in a park in Green Park Extension here, belonging to Municipal Corporation of Delhi and also uprooted trees from there.
A complaint was lodged by a woman resident alleging the accused were illegally digging in the park in front of her house, uprooted trees and broke a water pipe line there. The accused were listed in a charge sheet for the offences punishable under sections 447 (criminal trespass) of IPC and provision of Delhi Preservation of Trees Act.
It was alleged that the accused intimidated MCD employees and committed the offence of criminal intimidation under IPC. The court, however, noted that nothing could be proved against the accused from the woman's cross examination.
"Therefore, the whole case of prosecution appears to hang upon the testimony of the section officer of MCD. On closer scrutiny of his testimony, I am of the view that his testimony is not of sterling quality. It is not clear from his testimony whether he himself saw accused encroaching upon the MCD park," the magistrate said.