May 26, 2021 10:04:08 pm
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the DCP of Punjab Police to form a new three-member all-women SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe allegations levied by a 38-year-old woman, who has claimed that she was raped by a policeman of the CIA (Crime Investigation Agency) Bathinda and an alleged Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act case that was filed against her son.
The bench of Justice Arun Monga passed the order while hearing the plea of the victim, who through her counsel Advocate Gurpreet Singh Bhasin contended that her son, around 19-20 years old, while suffering/convalescing from Covid-19 infection at his residence, was picked up by CIA police officers on March 6 at 10 am. The woman claimed that her son was arrested after she declined to succumb to the sexual favours that had been sought from her by a CIA policeman. An FIR, allegedly a false one, was registered against her son under NDPS Act by planting contraband on him. Later, under duress to get her son released, the woman claimed that she yielded to the demand made by the CIA staff.
The petitioner (victim), to substantiate her allegations, has also presented a pen drive in the HC which contains the recorded conversations between her and the accused ASI (CIA staff Bathinda) as well as certain live video clippings.
On a query by the HC regarding the steps taken so far in the FIR registered on May 12 under Section 376 (rape) of IPC at PS Cantt, District Bathinda on the complaint of the petitioner, the state counsel submitted that an SIT has been constituted to conduct investigations.
Justice Monga, however, pulling up the Punjab Police and said, “It is rather intriguing, given the nature of the sensitive investigation, that no lady police official has been involved in the SIT, which is even otherwise the requirement of law in cases of this kind. To say the least, it is highly deplorable to see the insensitiveness with which the district police officials have acted, in constituting the SIT that had all-male members.”
Justice Monga then directed the DGP Punjab Police to constitute a new SIT, which shall now be headed by Gurpreet Deo, ADGP, in her capacity as chairperson along with two other members D Sudarvizhi, SSP, Sri Mukatsar Sahib and Prabhjot Kaur, DSP, Budhlada, Mansa.
It was further directed by the HC that Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bathinda, shall also get the FSL report with regard to the audio/video recordings made by the petitioner from her cell phone, upon the same being submitted in the Court, which shall be treated as part of case property.
Justice Monga added that since the counsel for the petitioner has submitted that she is fearful that the police officials involved in the case may try to bodily harm her and tamper with the evidence, the state counsel shall seek instructions as to what steps so far have been taken under the “Witness Protection Scheme, 2018”. And also it is expected from the state counsel to seek instructions with regard to the time period within which the investigation shall be completed.
The accused ASI, who has been booked for the alleged rape case, has already been dismissed from service by the Punjab Police.
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