A month after the Haryana DGP Baljit Singh Sandhu had to appear in person before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for an explanation regarding the alleged non-compliance of a court order, the High Court has now passed three back-to-back orders seeking his presence in three different cases where questions have been raised over the manner in which investigation is being conducted by the police.
On Tuesday, a division bench and a single bench of the High Court passed two orders seeking his presence for assistance and explanation. An order seeking his presence was earlier passed on January 10 by a single bench. Sandhu has been directed to appear before the division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli on Wednesday morning and next month, he will have to appear before a single bench in two different matters on two different dates. The cases are under investigation in Panchkula, Sirsa and Mahendergarh.
The division bench Tuesday ordered Sandhu to remain present on Wednesday for assistance in a case filed by two accused in an FIR related to a fraud committed by the accused in purchase of paddy worth crores of rupees from farmers. The accused in the petition have alleged that the Sirsa SP has included a Sub Inspector and another officer in the Special Investigation Team, which is probing the case. According to the petition, the Sub Inspector has been associated with the investigation in violation of an order passed by the DGP who had constituted the SIT of only three officers.
The Court on Monday had asked the state counsel to seek instructions as to how the Sirsa SP has overruled the DGP in the matter. The Court Tuesday was told one of the petitioners in the case has been declared a proclaimed offender while as the anticipatory bail of another petitioner has been dismissed by the courts. Around 30 farmers have recorded their statement in the case alleging their crop was purchased but full payment has not been made to them, according to the State. However, the Court was not convinced with the response on Tuesday and directed the DGP to appear in person on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a single bench Tuesday also asked the DGP to remain present before the court on February 21 in a bail petition filed by an accused in the Morni gangrape case. The counsel representing the accused told the court that the accused have been “illegally” identified by the police through the victim by way of WhatsApp and there has been no compliance of Section 54A of the CrPc, according to which the accused have to identified after a magisterial order. The gangrape of a Chandigarh woman had taken place in a Morni guesthouse in July 2018 and at least 11 accused have been arrested till date by the police.
In the January 10 order, Justice Raj Shekhar Attri has also summoned the DGP and asked him to appear in person for an explanation on the manner of investigation in a dowry death case. According to the complainant in that case, the investigation is not only shoddy but “completely unfair and biased”. The Investigating Officer is accused of changing the nature of the FIR and statements of the witnesses in the case.
DGP Sandhu told The Indian Express on Tuesday that he will have to go into the individual cases and their orders to check why he has been summoned by the court. “These things keep happening. It is only for the improvement,” he said. Sandhu is set to retire as the DGP on January 31. In case he is not given any extension in his term, the next DGP is expected to comply with the court orders.
In connection with non-compliance of a court order, Sandhu on December 13, 2018 while appearing in person before a court in a case had tendered an unconditional apology and assured the court that nothing wrong would happen in future while dealing with the court cases and orders.