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SUPREME COURT HAS SET ASIDE GUJRAT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT AND RELEASED THE ACCUSED FOR THE OFFENCE OF ROBERRY & MURDER

CASE NAME: THAKORE UMEDSING NATHUSING V. STATE OF GUJARAT
CASE NUMBER: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1102 OF 2024

DATED ON: FEBRUARY 22, 2024
QUORUM: Honourable Justice B.R. Gavai & Justice Sandeep Mehta

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The appellants, Thakore Laxmansing Halsing, Thakore Pravinsing Rajsing, Thakore Umedsing Nathusing, Thakore Khemsing Halsing, and Thakore Prabhatsing Kapursing, were tried in Sessions Case Nos. 107 and 143 of 1990 respectively. They were convicted under Section 392 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 5,000/­. The trial court acquitted them of the charges under Sections 302 read with Section 34 and Sections 396 and 397 IPC. The appellants appealed, while the State appealed, seeking acquittal.

A man named Vithalbhai Kachrabhai Barot was accused of murdering a man who used to drive a Jeep. The case was registered at Gadh Police Station, Taluka Palanpur, Gujarat, and an investigation began. On March 2, 1990, a jeep was driven away at high speed near Charannagar, Ahmedabad. Four persons alighted from the jeep and tried to run away. One of them, Laxmansing (A1), was chased down and confessed to the murder and looting of the vehicle. The remaining four accused were apprehended, and a blood-stained knife was recovered.

The investigation concluded that the accused took the jeep taxi of Bharatbhai (deceased) on hire and murdered the victim and looted the jeep. Two separate charge sheets were filed against the accused, and both sets were committed to the Sessions Court, Banaskantha, at Palanpur. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. After hearing the arguments and appreciating the evidence, the trial court acquitted A1, A2, A3, and A5 in entirety. They were convicted for the offense punishable under Section 392 of the IPC and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000/¬. The High Court reversed the acquittal and convicted them for the offenses punishable under Sections 302 and 396 IPC, sentenced them to life imprisonment, and maintained the fine and default sentence imposed by the trial court.

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

  • INDIAN PENAL CODE:
  • Section-34: Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention ; When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.
  • Section-302: Punishment for murder; Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section_392: Punishment for Robbery; Whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and, if the robbery be committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise, the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years.
  • Section-396: Dacoity with Murder; If any one of five or more persons, who are conjointly committing dacoity, commits murder in so committing dacoity, every one of those persons shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section-397: Robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt; If, at the time of committing robbery or dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person, so attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any person, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.

ISSUES RAISED:

Two fundamental issues are presented for adjudication in these appeals:­

  • The scope of interference by High Court in an appeal challenging acquittal of the accused by the trial Court;
  • The standard of proof required to bring home charges in a case based purely on circumstantial evidence.

SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF ACCUSED APPELLANTS:­

The learned counsel for accused appellants argue that the prosecution failed to prove the ownership or possession of a jeep bearing registration No. GJ-08-114 by the deceased. They also argue that the incriminating articles were never examined through the Forensic Sciences Laboratories (FSL), and only blood samples were sent for serological examination. The accused also argue that there is no reliable evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and that the convictions of A2, A3, and A5 are based solely on the confessional statement of A1, which is inadmissible in evidence under Sections 25 and 26 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The accused contend that the High Court’s findings are based on conjectures and surmises, and they are entitled to an acquittal.

 

SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF RESPONDENT­ STATE:­

Appearing for the respondent­ State vehemently opposed the submissions advanced by the learned counsel representing the accused­ appellants. She submitted that the High Court, after thorough and apropos appreciation of the substantial and convincing circumstantial evidence led by the prosecution, has recorded unimpeachable findings holding the accused guilty of the offences. She thus implored the Court to dismiss the appeals and affirm the judgment of the High Court.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court has analysed the impugned judgement and the evidence available on record, finding that the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, including disclosures, recoveries, and discoveries, to bring home the guilt of the accused. The most important recovery is attributed to A1, who was apprehended by PSI J.N. Chaudhary on 02nd March, 1990. He forwarded a report/communication dated 2nd March, 1990, wherein A1 confessed to the crime of murdering the jeep driver and looting the jeep and named the other accused persons as particeps criminis.

The court found that the confession of an accused in custody recorded by a police officer is inadmissible in evidence as the same would be hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act. The prosecution did not even attempt to prove the confessional part of the communication . The court also found that the identity of A2, A3, and A5 as the assailants on the basis of the disclosure statement of A1 were primarily convicted on the basis of the recoveries of knives and clothes.

The court found that the recoveries were highly doubtful and tainted, as they did not lead to any conclusive circumstance in form of Serological report establishing the presence of the same blood group as that of the deceased. Furthermore, the prosecution failed to lead the link evidence mandatorily required to establish the factum of safe keeping of the muddamal articles, making the recoveries irrelevant.

The court has already doubted the veracity of the disclosure statement of A1 as recorded by and concluded that the evidentiary value of the confession of one co-accused against the other cannot be treated as substantive evidence.

The prosecution failed to provide reliable evidence to prove the accused’s guilt for murder under Section 302 IPC. The High Court did not record any finding that the trial court’s view was perverse or unfavorable. The judgment is based on conjectures and surmises, rather than substantive or reliable circumstantial evidence. The conviction for Section 392 is also based on the same set of inadmissible and unreliable links of circumstantial evidence.

CONCLUSION: ­

The High Court of Gujarat in Ahmedabad has quashed and set aside two previous judgements, Criminal Appeal No. 1012 of 1993 and Criminal Appeal No. 949 of 1994, which were based on the same record. The trial court’s judgment dated 21st August, 1993, convicting and sentencing the accused for offences punishable under Section 392 IPC, is also quashed and set aside. The appellants are acquitted of the charges and are directed to be set at liberty immediately, unless otherwise required.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY: ABHISHEK SINGH

Click here to view the full judgement: THAKORE UMEDSING NATHUSING V. STATE OF GUJARAT

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Mere Mention in Suicide Note Insufficient for Abetment Charge: Supreme Court.

Vikas Chandra v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.

Case No.: Criminal Appeal No.__________ of 2024 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.1196/2018).

Date: February 22, 2024.

Court: Supreme Court of India.

Quorum: Hon’ble J. C.T. Ravikumar, J. Rajesh Bindal.

Facts of the Case:

The case concerns the death by suicide of Brijesh Chandra, father of the appellant Vikas Chandra. Brijesh Chandra was a retired military man working as a security guard at Mandi Samiti, Puwaya. The respondent Ram Babu Sharma was the Secretary of the Mandi Samiti at the time.

According to the complaint filed by Vikas Chandra, his father’s salary from March 2004 to August 2004 and September 2004 onwards was not paid. On October 12, 2004, when Brijesh Chandra requested the release of his salary, Ram Babu Sharma allegedly told him: “I will see that how will you get your salary and who will help you in getting your salary, I will bring out your military-man-ship and either you die or your children, but I do not care, get out of here, why you do not take poison”.

On October 23, 2004, Brijesh Chandra committed suicide by consuming poison in the office of Sub-Mandi, Alhaganj, where he was working at the time. He left a suicide note allegedly attributing responsibility for his suicide to Ram Babu Sharma.

Initially, the complainant approached the court of the Judicial Magistrate, but the complaint was not forwarded for investigation under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The matter was taken up in revision and eventually to the High Court. Based on the High Court’s orders, an FIR was registered under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for abetment of suicide.

After investigation, the police filed a closure report. The Magistrate did not accept this report and conducted an inquiry under Section 202 CrPC based on a protest petition filed by the complainant. Subsequently, the Magistrate issued summons to Ram Babu Sharma to face trial for the offense under Section 306 IPC.

Ram Babu Sharma challenged this summons order in the High Court under Section 482 CrPC. The High Court quashed the summons order, leading to the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

Legal Issues:

Whether the High Court erred in quashing the summons issued against the respondent?

Whether the High Court exceeded the settled guidelines and parameters for exercising power under Section 482 CrPC?

Whether there was sufficient prima facie evidence to issue summons for the offense of abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPC?

Legal Provisions:

  1. Indian Penal Code:
  • Section 306 IPC – Abetment of suicide.
  • Section 107 IPC – Abetment.

  1. Code of Criminal Procedure:
  • Section 156(3) CrPC – Police officer’s power to investigate cognizable case.
  • Section 173(2) CrPC – Report of police officer on completion of investigation.
  • Section 190 CrPC – Cognizance of offences by Magistrates.
  • Section 202 CrPC – Postponement of issue of process.
  • Section 204 CrPC – Issue of process.
  • Section 482 CrPC – Saving of inherent powers of High Court.

Contentions of petitioners:

The appellant strongly argued that the High Court had committed a grave error in law by quashing the summons issued against the respondent. They contended that the Magistrate’s decision to issue summons was based on sufficient prima facie evidence and should not have been interfered with by the High Court. The appellant asserted that the High Court had exceeded the settled guidelines and parameters for exercising power under Section 482 CrPC. They argued that the High Court’s power to quash proceedings should be exercised sparingly and only in cases where there is a clear abuse of the process of law.

The appellant maintained that there was ample prima facie evidence to justify the issuance of summons for the offense of abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPC.

They pointed to the following elements:

  • The alleged threatening and instigative remarks made by the respondent on October 12, 2004.
  • The non-payment of salary, which they argued created circumstances that led to the suicide.
  • The suicide notes mentioning the respondent’s name and attributing responsibility to him.

The appellant argued that given the serious nature of the allegations and the existence of prima facie evidence, the matter deserved a full trial. They contended that quashing the summons at this stage would prevent a proper investigation into the circumstances of Brijesh Chandra’s death.

The appellant argued for a broader interpretation of the suicide note, suggesting that even if it didn’t explicitly mention the October 12 incident, the overall content implied abetment by the respondent.

Contentions of the Respondents:

The respondents argued that the summoning order was issued without satisfying the grounds required under law. They contended that mere mention of a name in a suicide note does not automatically amount to abetment of suicide. They argued that the Magistrate’s order did not reflect proper application of mind to form an opinion regarding sufficient basis for proceeding against the respondent. They pointed out that the order lacked detailed reasoning for issuing the summons. The respondents emphasized that there was no material suggesting instigation by the respondent in the suicide note. They argued that for abetment under Section 306 IPC, there must be clear evidence of instigation or creation of circumstances that left no option but suicide. They pointed out the significant time gap (11 days) between the alleged instigation and the suicide, arguing that this weakened any case for abetment. They also contended that there was no evidence of a continued course of conduct that could be seen as abetment.

The respondents highlighted that the alleged incident of October 12, 2004, which formed the basis of the complaint, was not mentioned in the suicide note. They argued that if this incident was indeed the trigger for the suicide, it would have been mentioned. They further argued that allowing the case to proceed based on such flimsy evidence would amount to misuse of the criminal process and cause undue harassment to the respondent. They contended that the High Court’s use of power under Section 482 CrPC was justified to prevent abuse of the process of law and to secure the ends of justice.

Analysis of the judgement:

In its judgment, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court’s decision to quash the summons order. The Court reaffirmed that while a Magistrate has the power to issue summons even after a closure report is filed by the police, this power must be exercised judiciously. It emphasized that issuing summons is a serious matter that affects an individual’s dignity and reputation, and therefore should not be done mechanically but only upon satisfaction of sufficient grounds for proceeding.

The Court clarified that for an offense under Section 306 IPC (abetment of suicide), there must be specific abetment as contemplated by Section 107 IPC, with an intention to bring about the suicide of the person concerned. In this case, the Court found no explicit or implicit reference in the suicide note to the alleged incident of October 12, 2004, or any instigation by the respondent. The significant time gap of 11 days between the alleged instigation and the suicide further weakened the case for abetment. The Court held that the mere statement in the suicide note that the respondent would be responsible for the suicide was not sufficient ground to issue summons for an offense under Section 306 IPC.

The judgement emphasized the need for careful judicial scrutiny before issuing summons in criminal cases, serving as a safeguard against arbitrary or mechanical issuance of summons. The Court’s clarification on the ingredients of abetment of suicide is vital, stressing that specific abetment with the intention to bring about the suicide is necessary, and mere attribution of responsibility in a suicide note is not sufficient.

The Court’s consideration of the lack of proximity between the alleged instigation and the suicide, as well as the absence of a continued course of conduct, as factors weakening the case for abetment, provides valuable guidance for similar cases. The judgment also offers insights into how suicide notes should be appreciated in the context of abetment charges, suggesting that courts should look for specific allegations and material of a definite nature, not merely inferences.

Conclusion

The decision serves as a reminder to lower courts to exercise their powers judiciously, especially in cases involving serious charges like abetment of suicide. It also provides guidance on how to appreciate evidence, particularly suicide notes, in such cases.

 

Reviewed by Maria Therese Syriac.


Click here to read the Judgement.

PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.

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SC SET ASIDE THE IMPUGNED JUDGEMENT PASSED BY THE HIGH COURT IN RESPECT OF DYING DECLARATION

Case Name: NAEEM. Versus STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH.

Case Number: CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1978 of 2024

Dated: March 05, 2024

Quorum: Honourable Justice B.R. Gavaskar & Justice Sandeep Mehta

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The appeals challenge the judgement and order dated December 17, 2019, passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Criminal Appeal Nos. 1589 of 2018 and 7393 of 2017. The appeals relate to the case of Shahin Parveen, who was admitted to the District Hospital with 80% deep thermal and facial burns on 1st December 2016. She claimed that she was set ablaze by the accused/appellants who pressured her into entering the profession of immoral trafficking and prostitution. A First Information Report was registered at Police Station Katghar, District Moradabad, and Shahin was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, where she died at 7:55 pm. The case was altered to the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The prosecution case alleged that after the death of Shahin’s husband two years prior, the accused/appellants began pressuring her into entering the profession of immoral trafficking and prostitution. The accused/appellants caught hold of Shahin and poured kerosene on her, igniting a matchstick and throwing it at her. The accused/appellants surrounded her, and she was set ablaze. Her neighbours put out the fire, and her mother and brother, Islam @ Babli, took her to the hospital.

The deceased, who had been a victim of a dispute with her husband, was allegedly set on fire by two accused individuals. The incident occurred on December 1, 2016, and the deceased’s dying declaration revealed that the dispute was related to their shared residence. The accused poured kerosene on the deceased, who was later taken to a hospital in New Delhi. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. The prosecution examined eight witnesses, with Papi @ Mashkoor claiming he was absent at the time and the deceased committed suicide. The trial court convicted the accused and sentenced them to life imprisonment and a fine. The accused appealed to the High Court, which dismissed their appeal and affirmed the conviction and sentence.

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

  1. INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860;

Section-34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.

Section 302 (Punishment for Murder): Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine.

Section-307 (Attempt to murder): Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and, if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the offender shall be liable either to imprisonment for life, or to such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned.

Attempts by Life Convicts: When any person offending under this section is under sentence of imprisonment for life, he may, if hurt is caused, be punished with death.

  1. INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT 1872;

Section 32(1) [ Dying Declaration]: This section states that when a statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person’s death comes into question. Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question.

ISSUES RAISED:

  1. Whether the dying declaration is cogent, trustworthy, and reliable to base the conviction on the accused or frivolous and vexatious.
  2. Whether the dying declaration can be considered as sole evidence for the conviction of the accused persons.
  3. whether the conviction of all three accused is tenable or not.

CONTENTION OF APPELLANT:

Shri Mohd. Siddiqui, the learned counsel for the appellants, submits that the conviction is based only on the dying declaration of the deceased. He submits that the dying declaration is not free from doubt. It is submitted that the discharge slip would show that the deceased was discharged from the District Hospital, Moradabad, on December 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm. It is therefore impossible that the dying declaration could have been recorded between 8:48 pm and 9:15 pm. The learned counsel therefore submits that the said dying declaration cannot be said to be trustworthy, reliable and cogent so as to base the conviction solely on the same.

CONTENTION OF RESPONDENTS:

Shri Thakur, counsel for the respondent, submits that both the trial court and the High Court, on the correct appreciation of evidence, rightly convicted the accused and appellants, and as such, no interference would be warranted with the concurrent findings of the trial court and the High Court. The learned AAG submits that Raj Kumar Bhaskar, the then Naib Tehsildar, has deposed about the dying declaration. Shri Thakur submits that the dying declaration also contains the certification by Dr. A.K. Singh, Emergency Medical Officer, District Hospital, Moradabad, regarding the medical fitness of the victim both prior to and after recording the dying declaration.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The conviction in this case is based solely on the dying declaration, as per the law outlined in the Atbir v. Government of NCT of Delhi case. The court has held that a dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction if it inspires the full confidence of the court, and if the deceased was in a fit state of mind at the time of making the statement, it was not the result of tutoring, prompting, or imagination. If the court is satisfied about the dying declaration being true and voluntary, it can base its conviction without further corroboration. The court has observed that if the dying declaration is true, coherent, and free from any effort to induce the deceased to make a false statement, there is no legal impediment to make it the basis of conviction, even if there is no corroboration.

The testimony of Raj Kumar Bhaskar, the then Naib Tehsildar, reveals that he was directed by the Tehsildar to record the statement of the victim, Shahin Parveen, at the District Hospital, Moradabad. He deposed that he was in full sense and understood the questions, and that none of the relatives of the deceased were present during the recording.

 

The dying declaration is deemed true and coherent, making it a reliable basis for conviction without independent corroboration. The victim’s statement reveals that the deceased’s motive is attributed to accused No. 1 Pappi @ Mashkoor, who allegedly poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze. The statement of Naeema and her brother Naeem, the wife of accused No. 1 Pappi @ Mashkoor, also reveals their assistance to her devar Pappi @ Mashkoor.

 

However, no specific role for how they assisted was found in the dying declaration. The court finds that the dying declaration can be the sole basis for maintaining the conviction of accused No. 1 Pappi @ Mashkoor, but in the absence of any specific role attributed to accused No. 2 Naeema and accused No. 3 Naeem, they are entitled to the benefit of doubt.

As a result, the court passed the following order:

(i) The criminal appeals of Naeem and Naeema, quashed and set aside, are allowed. The trial court’s conviction and sentence from October 24, 2017, and the High Court’s judgement from December 17, 2019, are quashed and set aside. The appellants are acquitted of all charges and are directed to be released immediately, unless required in any other case.

(ii) Criminal Appeal No. 1979 of 2022, qua appellant Pappi @ Mashkoor, is dismissed.

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Judgement Reviewed by- Abhishek Singh

Click here to view the full judgement: NAEEM. Versus STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH.

 

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A Chilling Incident: Human Finger Allegedly Found in Ice Cream.

In a shocking and disturbing incident, a 26-year-old doctor from Mumbai, Brendan Ferrao, claimed to have found a piece of human flesh, suspected to be a severed finger, in a butterscotch ice cream cone he had ordered through a food delivery app. This grisly discovery has prompted swift action from the authorities and raised serious concerns about food safety standards.

On June 12, Brendan Ferrao filed a complaint with the Malad police station after making the unsettling discovery in a Yummo’s butterscotch ice cream cone manufactured by Walko QSR Company Pvt Ltd. The police promptly registered a case under sections 272 (adulteration of food or drink), 273 (sale of noxious food or drink), and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The investigation revealed that the ice cream in question was manufactured by a third-party company, Fortune Dairy Industries Private Limited, located in the Indapur taluka of Pune district. This led the authorities to broaden their probe, focusing on the supply chain from the delivery executive to the manufacturing unit.

FSSAI Intervenes and Halts Operations

Responding swiftly to the alarming situation, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) conducted an inspection at the Fortune Dairy Industries premises in Indapur. After a thorough investigation that began on Friday and continued into the early hours of Saturday, the FSSAI ordered the immediate suspension of operations at the facility.

The premises of Fortune Dairy Industries now wear a deserted look, with operations halted and an air of uncertainty looming over the facility and its employees. According to sources, the company employs around 50 skilled workers and 150-160 unskilled workers, along with supervisors and managerial staff. Additionally, the livelihoods of hundreds of milk suppliers who provide the facility with up to two lakh liters of milk daily from nearby districts are also at risk due to this action.

Walko QSR Company’s Response

In a declaration issued on Saturday, Walko QSR Company Pvt Ltd confirmed that the batches of Alphonso Mango Cone (110ml) and Butterscotch Cone (110ml) in question were indeed manufactured by Fortune Dairy Industries Private Limited at their Indapur plant.

While officials from the Indapur police station stated that they have not received any reports of injuries or missing fingers in their jurisdiction, the investigation is ongoing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Pune has also taken precautionary measures by visiting an ice cream manufacturing facility owned by Walko in the Hadapsar area. Samples of manufactured products and raw materials have been collected for testing.

Implications and Concerns

This incident has raised serious concerns about food safety standards and the potential consequences of lapses in quality control and hygiene practices. The alleged presence of a human finger in a consumer product is not only disturbing but also poses significant health risks and undermines consumer trust.

As the investigation unfolds, both the authorities and the companies involved must take decisive action to address this issue, implement stricter quality control measures, and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future. Consumer safety and confidence in the food industry are paramount, and incidents like these serve as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and accountability throughout the entire supply chain.

Review by Maria Therese Syriac.

PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.

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A Chilling Incident: Human Finger Allegedly Found in Ice Cream Leads to Shut Down of Manufacturing Unit.

In a shocking and disturbing incident, a 26-year-old doctor from Mumbai, Brendan Ferrao, claimed to have found a piece of human flesh, suspected to be a severed finger, in a butterscotch ice cream cone he had ordered through a food delivery app. This grisly discovery has prompted swift action from the authorities and raised serious concerns about food safety standards.

On June 12, Brendan Ferrao filed a complaint with the Malad police station after making the unsettling discovery in a Yummo’s butterscotch ice cream cone manufactured by Walko QSR Company Pvt Ltd. The police promptly registered a case under sections 272 (adulteration of food or drink), 273 (sale of noxious food or drink), and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The investigation revealed that the ice cream in question was manufactured by a third-party company, Fortune Dairy Industries Private Limited, located in the Indapur taluka of Pune district. This led the authorities to broaden their probe, focusing on the supply chain from the delivery executive to the manufacturing unit.

FSSAI Intervenes and Halts Operations

Responding swiftly to the alarming situation, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) conducted an inspection at the Fortune Dairy Industries premises in Indapur. After a thorough investigation that began on Friday and continued into the early hours of Saturday, the FSSAI ordered the immediate suspension of operations at the facility.

The premises of Fortune Dairy Industries now wear a deserted look, with operations halted and an air of uncertainty looming over the facility and its employees. According to sources, the company employs around 50 skilled workers and 150-160 unskilled workers, along with supervisors and managerial staff. Additionally, the livelihoods of hundreds of milk suppliers who provide the facility with up to two lakh liters of milk daily from nearby districts are also at risk due to this action.

Walko QSR Company’s Response

In a declaration issued on Saturday, Walko QSR Company Pvt Ltd confirmed that the batches of Alphonso Mango Cone (110ml) and Butterscotch Cone (110ml) in question were indeed manufactured by Fortune Dairy Industries Private Limited at their Indapur plant.

While officials from the Indapur police station stated that they have not received any reports of injuries or missing fingers in their jurisdiction, the investigation is ongoing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Pune has also taken precautionary measures by visiting an ice cream manufacturing facility owned by Walko in the Hadapsar area. Samples of manufactured products and raw materials have been collected for testing.

Implications and Concerns

This incident has raised serious concerns about food safety standards and the potential consequences of lapses in quality control and hygiene practices. The alleged presence of a human finger in a consumer product is not only disturbing but also poses significant health risks and undermines consumer trust.

As the investigation unfolds, both the authorities and the companies involved must take decisive action to address this issue, implement stricter quality control measures, and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future. Consumer safety and confidence in the food industry are paramount, and incidents like these serve as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and accountability throughout the entire supply chain.

Review by Maria Therese Syriac.

PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.

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