Three TV journalists, including a woman, facing trial for allegedly robbing a gas agency and extorting money from its owner have been discharged by a Delhi court which said they have been "falsely implicated".
Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat let off Mukesh Kumar, Sanjay Khatri and P Rama saying they had carried out a sting operation in the godown of the Indane Gas Agency M/s Joginder Enterprises, owned by the complainant Sanjiv Singh, and had caught "the act of pilferage" going on there in their camera, so the owner had implicated them in the case.
"It is manifest that the petitioners (TV journalist) had in fact carried out a sting operation in the godown of the complainant (Singh) and caught the act of pilferage on camera and Singh had been running after them...in order to persuade them not to flash the video clip on the news channels.
"When Singh failed to persuade the three, he thought of a novel plan to make a complaint of robbery against them in the police station and got them implicated in a false case of robbery," the court said.
The sessions court judgement came on the appeal filed by the three against the magisterial court's January 2012 order, holding the trio guilty for offences punishable under Section 392 (robbery) and 385 (extortion) of the IPC.
The case of the prosecution before the trial court was that in June 2007, the complainant, Singh, had filed a written complaint in the police station at Naraina here.
He had alleged that three persons, including a woman, had forcibly entered his agency's godown here, ordered the godown keeper to pilfer gas from a cylinder and on his refusal, had roughed him up and robbed Rs 10,700 from him.
"At the time of the incident, Singh was out of station. He was informed about the incident by the godown keeper, by way of a telephone call," the prosecution had said.
Seeking discharge in the case, the trio's counsel had told the court that they were at the time working for a TV news channel and had gone to Singh's godown for a sting operation after receiving credible information that the complainant was engaged in pilfering LPG gas in his godown.
He said Singh got annoyed with the sting operation carried out by them and in collusion with the police, slapped a false criminal case against them.
Allowing the plea, the court observed that Mukesh and Sanjay were arrested pursuant to the disclosure statement of their woman associate P Rama.
"The fact that the investigating agency has made no attempt at all to recover an amount of Rs 10,700 allegedly taken away by them from the godown keeper shows that they were aware that the story of Singh is false and were only acting in collusion with the complainant.
"In view of the above said discussion, the magisterial court's order cannot be sustained. Same is hereby set aside. The petitioners are hereby discharged," the judge added.