KARACHI: A district and sessions court in Karachi on Tuesday discharged a suspect in Dr Maha Shah suicide case till the filing of the final investigation report by the investigating officer in the case.
During the hearing, the investigation officer produced Dr Irfan Qureshi before the judicial magistrate (South) to seek his physical remand.
The IO informed that two other suspects, Hasan and Khan, were still absconding and requested for time to complete the investigation since the fleeing suspects were yet to be tracked down.
The young doctor practising at a private hospital in Clifton committed suicide by shooting herself at her home in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) on Aug 18.
Subsequently, on the complaint of the deceased’s father, the police last week registered a case against some of her purported friends including Dr Irfan Qureshi, Junaid Khan and Waqas Hasan under Sections 334 (Itlaf-udw: hurt), 337-J (causing hurt by means of poison), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
During Tuesday’s hearing, the defence moved an application asking the court to discharge Dr Qureshi from the case on the ground of lack of evidence. He contended that the applicant was a dentist by profession and a respectable citizen.
The counsel also claimed that the applicant was arrested with mala fide intentions of the station house officer (SHO). He contended that no evidence came on record that the deceased had been given any poison.
He added that on the day of the incident, the deceased came to the clinic of Dr Qureshi and after waiting for four hours she left without meeting the applicant/accused. In this regard, the conversation of the applicant and the deceased on WhatsApp was available on the record, he added.
The defence said it was also admitted that the inquest report produced by the IO and the death/medical certificate was silent regarding any kind of poisoning.
The counsel argued that the applicant had not committed any offense. He asked the court to discharge the suspect in the present case and release him.
However, the state prosecutor opposed the plea, arguing that the applicant was booked on the statement of the father of the deceased and a blood sample report was still pending for results.
In the order, the judge expressed dissatisfaction with the submission of the state prosecutor that the accused was nominated in the FIR saying that “FIR itself is not a substantive piece of evidence”.
The judge observed that “nothing is available before me at present to connect the applicant into the case and to observe that he would definitely stand trial”.
The judge wrote that the allegations levelled against the accused had been found invalid.
The judge discharged accused Irfan Ali Qureshi under Section 63 of the CrPC subject to furnishing a PR bond in the sum of Rs500,000.
However, the judge clarified that it is for the prosecution that the discharge of the suspect under Section 63 of the CrPC does not amount to his acquittal as such a final investigation report under Section 173 of the CrPC can still be filed before the court.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story suggested that Dr Qureshi has been sent on judicial remand which is untrue. The story has been revised and the error is regretted.