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Embezzlement of paid electricity bills

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Complaints regarding embezzlement of paid electricity bills were made by consumers in the division office of the electricity board against lower class employees. Statements of consumers were recorded in the division office. After that an FIR was lodged against the concerned employees. 

Whether statements recorded by the divisional officer of electricity board before registration of FIR have any legal value? Whether these statements come under 161 crpc statements? Whether bar of crpc 162 applies to these statements. Whether all the preliminary enquiry/ proceedings done by divisional officer before registration of FIR comes as a part of investigation? Whether contradiction of witness as per section 145 of evidence act could be done on the basis of such statements.

Question from: Uttar Pradesh

Investigation commences only after the recording of First Information Report. The divisional officer has recorded those statements before the lodging of FIR. Hence, those statements will not come under the purview of section 161 of the code of criminal procedure (crpc). 

The bar of section 162 crpc applies only when the investigating officer records the statement of witness in the course of investigation. That statement will not be a part of the investigation because it is not recorded by the investigating officer during the course of investigation (Section 161 crpc). 

Legal value of statement 

If the prosecution produces those consumers as the prosecution witness their statements recorded by the divisional officer will have no legal value. In Tahsildar Singh And Another vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh [1959 AIR (SC) 1012] the Supreme Court has held that “A statement made to the police but not reduced to writing, could not be used for any purpose, not even for contradiction.”

If the investigating officer has not recorded the statement of witnesses under Section 161 then the statement of witnesses recorded by the divisional officer cannot be used under Section 145 Evidence Act for contradicting the witness.

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