The Thane sessions court last week directed that FIRs be filed against two officers of Thane Rural Police for incomplete case diaries and conducting improper investigations.
In two separate orders, Additional Sessions Judge VY Jadhav pulled up Assistant Police Inspector (API) Govind Borade, who was previously posted at Padgha police station in Bhiwandi, and Assistant Police Inspector Ganesh Bhamre of Mira Road police station. Following the court’s directions, FIRs were registered at both police stations on November 29, in which the officials were booked for disobeying directions of the law under the Indian Penal Code.
The orders originated from two bail applications heard by Judge Jadhav during which he expressed displeasure about the quality of evidence submitted by the investigating officers.
Why case diaries are important
Case diaries serve as documents of record that contain in minute detail each step taken in the course of an active investigation, beginning with the time and place of the commission of an offence down to each person involved in the case. Section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code says that in court, case diaries do not serve as evidence but as a means for a magistrate or judge to assess the progress and quality of an investigation. For this purpose, case diaries are required to be properly indexed into volumes, each page numbered and the facts contained in them accurate. The CrPC explains that minute notations of timings, when an action is carried out during an investigation serves as an indicator that the probe was conducted in a fair and unbiased manner. Any tampering with case diaries is thus viewed by courts with extreme suspicion.
“This is serious contempt of the honourable High Court as well as negligence in the duty of the IO (investigating officer). There is possibility of changing the statements of witnesses or the investigation papers. Hence, now the time has come that prosecution should be initiated against the delinquent investigating officers for disobeying the directions of the honourable Bombay High Court as well as Section 172 of CrPC,” the judge observed in his order passed on November 30.
In the first case, API Borade was investigating a case in which two men attacked their friend with steel chains and fractured his nose following a quarrel. But when the accused, Azharuddin and Yasin Chikhlekar, filed an anticipatory bail application in court, Judge Jadhav found that the case diary was not properly maintained by API Borade.
“The case diaries were not separated into volumes and individual pages were not numbered, as required by the Bombay High Court,” said Inspector Sanjay Hajare of Padgha police station.
In addition, API Borade had also not recorded the statement of the only eyewitness to the attack. As the accused were absconding, the police could not seize the chain used in the attack as well as the vehicle in which they fled. While Judge Jadhav took cognisance of the seriousness of the offence, he noted in his order that he was dismayed to find “no material on record to show as to what were taken by the IO against the applicants for
While the judge rejected the bail plea filed by the accused, he observed that API Borade had failed to carry out the investigation in accordance to the guidelines laid down in the Criminal Procedure Code and by the Bombay High Court in 2011.
Even as he was investigating the case, API Borade was transferred to Palghar District Police in June after completing a two-year tenure in Padgha. Inspector Hajare said that a notice would be served to API Borade to explain the lapses in his investigation before further criminal action is initiated against him.
In the other case, the judge was hearing bail pleas filed by Bhimrao Jangle, the owner of an orchestra bar raided by the Mira Road police on October 12 and those of his employees, Rambharose Jagosav and Ranjitkumr Yadav.
They had been booked under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (working therein) Act for compelling three women to work as bar dancers and concealing them in a tiny cavity, with barely any space to breathe, when the police raided the premises.
While hearing the bail applications, Judge Jadhav charged the IO, API Ganesh Bhamre, for not being serious about the investigation.
The judge observed that API Bhamre had not submitted a panchanama of the space where the women had been confined and only arrested Jagosav and Yadav, the cashier and waiter, respectively, “who have no prima facie role in the alleged offence”.
Jagosav and Yadav were granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 each while the judge rejected Jangle’s plea to be released, even though the IO had “failed to point out as to what steps were taken by him for arrest of accused”.
The judge also took serious note of the fact that the case papers did not contain statements of a single witness, which raised the possibility of backdated statements being included in the chargesheet, he stated in his order. “In spite of repeated directions, there is practice in Thane district that the IO does not follow the directions of the honourable High Court about maintaining case diary,” Judge Jadhav observed.
However, Inspector Vaibhav Shingare of Mira Road police station defended API Bhamre’s probe in the case. “…the officer’s writer forgot to carry the correct case diaries and brought along blank ones by mistake. The bail application of the accused was rejected because our investigation is proper,” he said.
Contacted for a response, API Yuvraj Kalgutke, Thane Rural Police Spokesperson, said: “We issue administrative circulars from time to time reminding all officials to be thoroughly prepared to present progress of their investigations in court and to keep their case diaries updated. As per the CrPC, we have always submitted all documents and evidence in proper format