HC slams UT Police for ‘shoddy probe’

Accident Case: Questions why harsher offence not invoked.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Published:October 25, 2013 2:10 am

Dismayed at “a very shoddy investigation” done by the Chandigarh Police in an accident case wherein even “basics” had to be done by the kin of the deceased,the Punjab and Haryana High Court has slammed the “we care for you” brigade.

The High Court has expressed shock over the fact that instead of the police gathering evidence,it was the father and sister of one of the deceased who had to gather evidence against the accused.

The court on Thursday asked the Chandigarh Police to explain why a serious offence of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” (Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code) was not attracted in the case which attracts a maximum imprisonment of 10 years. And as to why only a lighter offence of “rash and negligent driving” (Section 304-A of the IPC) was invoked against the accused that attracts a maximum imprisonment of only two years.

The directions were passed by the High Court on a petition filed by Yash Pal Juneja,who lost his 21-year-old son in a fatal accident. Two college students from Ghaziabad and the taxi driver had died on the spot when their Chevrolet Tavera was hit by a luxury SUV Audi Q7 that crossed over the divider and rammed into the taxi. The accident occurred on July 24 around 1 am on the sector 17-18 road. Initially,the Chandigarh Police had registered a case against the taxi driver who died in the accident. It was only after a hue and cry was raised that a case was registered against the SUV driver.

Accusing the Chandigarh Police of carrying out a highly “tainted” investigation,the father has sought transfer of the probe to some independent investigating agency. He has alleged that the accused is close to politicians and high-ups and is influencing the investigation done by the Chandigarh Police.

Maintaining that the police were trying to shield the accused by not collecting evidence,the father has alleged that he and his daughter had found some “OCB Sheets” from the car of the accused at the police station. “He further submits that a blood stained hanky and some broken pieces of beer bottles were found by the petitioners,allegedly from the spot of accident and all these articles were handed over to Ashish Kapoor,Deputy Superintendent of Police who,subsequently,possibly handed over the said articles to the Special Investigation Team,stated to have been constituted by the UT SSP,” reads the HC order.

Taking strong exception to absence of these facts from the affidavit filed by Ashish Kapoor,Justice Amol Rattan Singh held that “the said articles do not seem to find any mention in the affidavit filed by the DSP”.

Summoning Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh,the High Court on Tuesday had held that Naunihal would have to explain “as to what happened to the articles,handed over to the investigating team and the progress made”.

The SSP was also directed to explain “why the articles were required to be recovered by the victims’ family and handed over to the SIT and why these articles were not recovered by the investigating agency itself”.

Mincing no words,the court had also ruled that “prima facie at least,in view of what has been stated by the petitioners,a very shoddy investigation seems to have (been) conducted,if even basics are required to be done by the complainants”.

When the petition came up for a resumed hearing on Thursday,the counsel for the Chandigarh Police denied allegations of biased investigation,and said the samples collected were sent to CFSL for examination and that no undue delay was caused by the police.

Citing health grounds,an application was moved on behalf of SSP Naunihal Singh on Thursday,seeking exemption from appearance. When enquired,the court was told that the SSP was unable to appear in police uniform since he was suffering from a “spinal” problem. When summoned by the court,a police officer has to appear in uniform. When questioned by the court why the SSP was not wearing uniform to his office,the UT counsel added that Naunihal Singh had already obtained exemption from his seniors not to wear uniform to the office. The court has directed Naunihal to appear in person,without uniform,next week to explain the shoddy investigation of his police force in the present case.

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