The Bombay High Court has recently granted bail to the wife of a Kalyan-based police inspector, who was allegedly involved in extorting money from businessmen. The officer’s wife had been arrested for allegedly trying to cover up for her husband. The Bombay High Court, however, deemed her arrest to be “bad in the eyes of law” and granted her bail.
“The action of causing arrest immediately after conducting second house search and taking her into police custody is bad in the eyes of law. The offence under section 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) by itself is a bailable offence. Extension of police custody by the magistrate without appreciating the facts was unwarranted and unjustified,” Justice Sadhana S Jadhav.
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There had been complaints against the police officer, who was then posted at the Bazaar Peth police station, that he was demanding money from people. The complaint had been registered at the same police station where he was posted. It alleged the officer had made several demands from a contractor and another person who claimed that the officer had demanded an air-conditioner set and television from him which were then installed in his chamber at the police station.
It was further alleged the officer had asked for a phone handset. When the complainant could not find the specific handset, the officer abused him and insisted on the same model of the phone. He had also given him a watch worth Rs 20,000.
“It is pertinent to note that the air-conditioner and television is installed in the police station in the chambers of the officer. The articles received are therefore installed in the police station. Prima facie, it cannot be believed that senior officers had not noticed the installation of the articles that are mentioned in the FIR,” observed Jadhav. The police officer was arrested on September 1, 2015, while the statement of his wife was recorded September 3, where she allegedly disclosed she had thrown away the watch. She was arrested later in the day.
Next day September 4, she was produced before a magistrate. The police sought her custody on the ground that the the watch gifted to the her husband was not found in the house and it was alleged that she had indulged in “screening the offender”. The offence against the wife is for causing the disappearance of the wrist watch. The magistrate did not grant her bail. She had then approached the HC for setting aside the magistrate’s order granting or extending custody until September 9.
“It was not necessary to take the applicant (wife) into custody unless she was added as an accused. It was earlier directed to keep investigating officer present along with papers of investigation. Arrest panchanama of the applicant does not form part of the records,” observed the court.