An undertrial prisoner, who used an order bearing the forged signatures of a metropolitan magistrate to get swanky sports shoes, a trendy belt and a wrist watch in jail, has been awarded three years imprisonment by a Delhi court.
Additional Sessions Judge Manoj Jain, while upholding the conviction of the prisoner Virender, reduced the sentence awarded to him by a trial court from seven years to three years by diluting the charge of committing forgery (section 468) to possessing forged document (section 474) under the Indian Penal Code.
"The accused was in possession of a document knowing it to be a forged order or proceedings of the court... In fact, he had already put the order to use by wearing prohibited articles in jail," the judge said.
"There is nothing on record to substantiate the theory of criminal conspiracy. The forensic opinion also does not nail down the accused as author of the forged order of the court and, therefore, the trial court should not have held him guilty under section 468 (forgery) but 474 (possessing a forged document) of the IPC," the judge said.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Virender, who is also facing trial in other cases including murder and robbery, against the trial court's order that held him guilty of forging signatures of a metropolitan magistrate to obtain prohibited articles in jail.
"Undoubtedly, the convict is a young man in his twenties but keeping in mind the fact that he was found in possession of forged order of the court, the trial court rightly declined the benefit of probation to him.”
"I hereby sentence the appellant (Virender) to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three years and also impose a fine of Rs 10,000 upon him," the judge said.
Virender had challenged the order of the trial court, saying that it had wrongly held him guilty of the offence of forgery which could not be proved against him. Virender also submitted that the investigation was defective and biased and the sentence imposed on him was harsh and extreme keeping in view his young age.
According to the prosecution, on November 22, 2012, Virender, who was lodged in a Rohini jail in Delhi, was found wearing sports shoes, chain, wrist watch, belt etc. and on being asked by the assistant superintendent of the jail, he presented a court order which permitted him to use the articles.
Suspecting the document to be forged, the assistant superintendent forwarded it to the court for review of such permission after which it was found that the magistrate, whose signatures and stamps were used on it, had never passed such an order.
An FIR was registered against Virender under section 468 of the IPC and the trial court had awarded him seven years rigorous imprisonment for the offence.