In the first ever crackdown of its kind against the police force of a state,suspended Superintendent of Police of Ajmer in Rajasthan and its eleven Station House Officers will soon be sharing the same prison as accused in a corruption case.
While the SP and two SHOs are already under arrest,nine other SHOs,accused of acting as his collecting agents in the extortion ring,will soon have arrest warrants issued against them.
On Friday,appearing for the state government and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB),senior advocate U U Lalit informed a Bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam that out of 11 SHOs,two,who were absconding,had now been arrested.
All the other SHOs had been removed from sensitive posts and sent to police lines after the incident came to light. They were under constant observations ever since. I say it under instructions that the arrest warrants against these nine SHOs are also being issued now, Lalit said.
The submission came as the Bench heard a bail petition by accused SP Rajesh Meena,who was arrested by ACB in January for allegedly extorting money from police stations under his jurisdiction through a middleman,a self-proclaimed astrologer. The astrologer has also been arrested in the case. It was alleged that the astrologer was acting as middleman for collecting hafta from different police stations on behalf of the SP. The SHOs,in turn,allegedly collected money from businessmen and others.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi,appearing for Meena,pressed for bail contending there could not be two yardsticks for treating accused persons since the suspended IPS officer remained in jail while other accused SHOs roamed around freely. He also claimed that there was no concrete evidence against his client.
Lalit however countered this,pointing to the Bench that Meena had even tried to influence a judicial officer and that he led a deep-rooted corruption ring. He added that there had been judicial pronouncements that bail should not be granted in such matters till the time penal charges were framed against the accused.
Accepting Lalits contentions,the Bench refused to grant bail to Meena. The bench said that three chargesheets have been filed. Till the charges are framed,we are not inclined to grant him relief. It however also asked the trial court to expedite the proceedings.
Five chargesheeted in extortion case
Jaipur: The Anti-Corruption Bureau Thursday filed a 7000-page chargesheet against five persons,including suspended additional superintendent of police Lokesh Sonwal and two former station house officers in the extortion racket case in Ajmer district. The chargesheet also names businessman Rajkumar Ludhani and land broker Hemant Jain for helping Sonawal in the extortion. The duo are still absconding.
The ACB had busted the extortion racket in January by nabbing Ajmer SP Rajesh Meena red-handed accepting bribe and filed a chargesheet against him in three different cases in March. Meena was found extorting money as a monthly bribe from SHOs in the district.