Chhattisgarh: Police's Modus Operendi To Fabricate Cases, One Boy Serves As Witness To Over 250 Cases
A 25-year-old Chattisgarh grocer Somesh Panigrahi is the witness to more than 250 to 300 court cases. How does that happen? Police have been using him to record fabricated statements and use those in court to falsely arrest the accused. These people are stock witnesses.
A stock witness is often tutored to speak in front of the court by the police. His little stint has invited the wrath of both judges and criminals alike. He often receives death threats too.
“Every magistrate, lawyer and policeman here knows me because I am a regular in court. A magistrate even warned he would put me in jail. I am stuck between police and court,” said Somesh, a resident of Bastar district’s Jagdalpur town, about 285 km south of state capital Raipur, according to a Hindustan Times report.
How it came to be?
He is a witness in cases ranging from gambling and confiscation of marijuana to murder and Maoist violence, and all of it started in 2013.
Why does he do it? His father has the answer. His father says that Somesh wishes to secure a government job and hence, be on the good side of police officers.
After completing Class 12, he joined a local news channel as a cameraman to supplement the family income. “One day in 2013, I visited Kotwali police station after a senior told me to record the police statement over the arrest of some alleged gamblers. The inspector asked me to become a witness in the case because he had none. I agreed. After that, they started making me a witness in other cases,” Somesh said. “Later, other police officers started using me as a witness,” he told the Hindustan Times.
Although his conscience pricks him at times, he is unable to do anything because of the number of threats he receives. He is still hopeful about the government job. He is the breadwinner of a family of five and expects the police to protect him.
He says that even though he has asked for security from the police, they shrugged off on his request.
Hope for the better
Jagdalpur police superintendent Arif Sheikh says that he will look into the matter and see how many cases he was a witness for. He also said that he will look into the fact that he has been provided security too.
He also mentioned that action would be taken against police who forced him to be a witness for cases.