Over a month after eight police officials were accused of assaulting an RSS pracharak in Baihar town of Balaghat district, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed a petition seeking a CBI probe describing as ‘vague’ the contention that the morale of the police force was being adversely affected in the state.
Democratic Lawyers Forum had moved the HC with a prayer that the probe into the case be handed over to CBI to ensure free and fair investigation, and that the court should monitor the probe by the central agency “to ensure free, just and fair probe without any political pressure’’.
Baihar Zilla Pracharak Suresh Yadav, who was accused of circulating a communal WhatsApp post, was allegedly beaten up by the police in custody and outside the Baihar police station on September 25.
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Eight policemen, including Additional SP Rajesh Sharma and Inspector Zia-ul-Haque, were booked for attempt to murder, robbery, rioting and trespass among other offences, and Balaghat SP Asit Yadav and Inspector General of Police D C Sagar were transferred.
Apart from challenging the locus standi of the petitioner, the state government had told the court that it had formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by a DIG, and it was carrying out the probe in an impartial manner. The pracharak had also filed a detailed objection and submitted that he was assaulted and dragged to the police station and that the police personnel misused their authority.
The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anjuli Palo held that “except for contending in the writ petition that certain police persons are being prosecuted at the instance of politically powerful persons, no cogent evidence or material is adduced as to why the investigation, undertaken by the SIT, is not proper and in what manner there is interference and no exonerating circumstances are pointed out except the vague allegation that morale of the police force would be adversely affected if the investigation is not transferred’’.
The bench held that it was “not inclined to interfere in the matter’’ because “ingredients” necessary to transfer the case to the CBI and the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in its judgments to do so were not fulfilled or available in the present case and there was no exonerating circumstances or extraordinary situation warranting transfer of investigation.
Advocate General Ravish Agrawal had initially raised preliminary objections with regard to the locus standi of the petitioner, but did not pursue it.
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