The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rapped the Punjab Police for registering an FIR on “concocted charges” against a Ludhiana resident in April 2017 following his illegal detention for at least five days at CIA-1 police station and directed the state to pay him an amount of Rs 1 lakh within four weeks.
Terming it a “glaring case” of misuse of police power and ruling that Punjab Police’s CIA staff concocted a story to evade the charges of illegal detention, the High Court while ordering the compensation also quashed the FIR lodged at Shimlapuri police station against Manpreet Singh. The compensation amount to be paid to him will be recovered from the erring police officials, as per the order.
“This court is of the firm opinion that FIR in question is absolute misuse of the powers by the police officials based on non-existent allegations just to implicate the petitioner and to save themselves from the legal consequences that could follow on account of his illegal detention,” Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu said in the order.
The order was passed on the petition filed by Manpreet through advocate DS Sandhu for quashing of the FIR in which it was alleged that Manpreet, “a habitual snatcher” had snatched two phones. However, the counsel representing Manpreet told the court the FIR was registered only three days after his father had approached the High Court in April 2017 with a habeas corpus seeking his release from illegal detention of the police.
Following the habeas corpus, the chief judicial magistrate, Ludhiana, on orders of the High Court had conducted an enquiry and concluded in May 2017 that Manpreet was subjected to the illegal detention between evening of April 11 and April 16, when the FIR under question was registered. Manpreet was granted bail in the FIR on May 4, 2017 after 20 days of judicial custody. The stete could not point out any other FIR against Manpreet.
Justice Sindhu said the FIR states that Manpreet was arrested on April 16 and two mobile phones were recovered from him, adding the police investigation found that one of the mobile phones was snatched from one Nand Bahadur in December 2016 and his statement was recorded only on April 27, 2017, eleven days after Manpreet’s arrest. But, the court said, there was no DDR or FIR by Nand Bahadur regarding the snatching incident.
“It is apparently clear that petitioner has been made a scapegoat and FIR has been registered by the police officials just to save their skin from legal consequences that may follow on account of the illegal detention of the petitioner and the same can be termed nothing but blatant misuse of the police powers,” reads the verdict.