After 19 years in jail, court finds man innocent

September 4th, 2008 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 3 (IANS) After spending nearly 19 years in jail, a 47-year-old man was on Wednesday found innocent in each of the 67 criminal cases he was charged in by the Uttar Pradesh police.Sher Bahadur Singh was 28-year old when he was accused of attempting to murder a villager in his native Garhi Chunauti village under Banthra police circle of Lucknow.

The complainant wanted to teach him a lesson for daring to contest a local election against him.

Sher Bahadur was booked under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to murder) and that was the beginning of his battle for justice which led him to face charge after charge in 67 different cases that sought to label him as a hardened criminal.

Even while he was facing trial in the first case, he saw more cases registered against him which did not allow him even a bail for the first seven years. And as soon as he succeeded in getting bail, he saw a barrage of fresh cases against him, which eventually kept him behind bars for 12 more years.

Most of the cases were registered under the Arms Act and the Narcotics Act, which are known to be often used by the police to frame someone.

“I did not have the resources to hire the services of a big lawyer as I belonged to a small farmer’s family, and the cops were after my blood as they were clearly bought over by my opponents,” a visibly disillusioned Sher Bahadur told IANS here.

Asked who he would blame for the years that he had spent in jail, he shot back: “Who else - cops and courts.”

However, he was equally grateful to the court, which finally got him reprieve. It was fast track court additional district judge S.P. Tripathi who declared him “not guilty” in the pending cases and he feels greatly obliged to him.

“Thanks to the fast court judge saheb who has made me a free man, but who will pay for the two decades of my life that have been lost in prison cells?” he asked with tears rolling down his eyes.

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