January 30, 2021 9:03:28 pm
After a Vadodara trial court refused to grant anticipatory bail to one of the accused police officers in the alleged custodial killing of a 65-year-old migrant from Telangana in 2019, the accused has now moved Gujarat High Court with a plea seeking anticipatory bail. In an order dated January 27, the Gujarat HC granted the accused official immunity from arrest until the next date of hearing, scheduled for February 20.
The migrant worker, Babu Nisar Shaikh, was apprehended by Fatehgunj police in Vadodara on suspicion of theft on December 10, 2019, and is suspected to have been tortured to death at the Fatehgunj police station.
The anticipatory bail plea was moved by Dilipsinh Rathod, the then sub-inspector at the Fatehgunj police station, who was termed as “absconding” at the time of filing of the chargesheet.
The accused was refused anticipatory bail by the lower court primarily on grounds of his “absconding” status as well as for conducting a faulty inquiry.
Taken up for hearing on January 27 by the single-judge bench of Justice RM Sareen at the HC, the court admitted the case and further directed the accused to remain present before the investigating officer on February 4 at a specified time to record his statement with respect to the case while granting Rathod interim immunity from arrest.
“Considering the averments of the application and the record, the applicant (Rathod) is directed to remain present before the investigating officer on 04.02.2021 between 11.00 AM and 2.00 PM and the investigating officer shall record statement of the applicant on that day and shall consider the documents produced before him by the applicant, if any, but the investigating officer shall not arrest the applicant till the next date,” the order states.
Meanwhile, advocate Imtiyajkhan Qureshi, representing the victim, present at the hearing intending to file his objections to Rathod’s plea was informed that he does not have an independent locus to object but can file the same through the prosecuting agency.
Six of the accused persons in the case — Inspector DB Gohil, Sub-Inspector DM Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai — are in judicial custody.
Rathod and assistant sub inspector Mahesh Rathwa were later added as accused in the chargesheet, with both termed as absconding.
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