SC wanted to set up CJs headed panels to probe complaints

New Delhi, Oct 01 (PTI): Flagging alleged nexus between politicians and the bureaucrats especially police officers, the Supreme Court Friday said it was once considering setting up of standing committees headed by Chief Justices of high courts to examine complaints of atrocities committed particularly by the police officers.
“I have a lot of reservations at the way as to how bureaucracy particularly, how the police officers are behaving in this country, observed Chief Justice N V Ramana.
“I was at one time thinking of creating standing committees to examine atrocities and complaints against bureaucrats particularly police officers headed by the Chief Justices of the High Courts. Now, I want to reserve that, I do not want to do it now,” the CJI said.
The CJI made the observations while heading a bench that was hearing three separate pleas of senior IPS officer Gurjinder Pal Singh, suspended Director of Chhattisgarh Police Academy of Chhattisgarh, against three FIRs lodged against him by the state government for offences of sedition, corruption, and extortion respectively.
The bench, which reserved the orders, indicated the outcome and said that it would grant protection to the suspended officer from any coercive action in two cases lodged for the offence of sedition and extortion respectively and requested the Chhattisgarh High Court to decide his pleas expeditiously within eight weeks.
In the third case lodged under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets, the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said that the police officer would be at liberty to avail appropriate legal remedy as he had only sought its transfer to the CBI and the stay of the ongoing probe being conducted by the state police.
At the outset, senior advocate F S Nariman, appearing for Singh in the sedition case, said that vexatious allegations have been made against the police officer for refusing to conspire to frame former Chief Minister and BJP leader in the state.
Another senior advocate Vikas Singh, who also represented the police officer in corruption and the extortion case, said after being granted protection by the apex court, the state government on September 12 invoked a non-bailable provision in the third FIR for the offence of extortion for an alleged incident that had taken place in 2016.
Singh said that the police officer has been a decorated one who is required to be protected and the government cannot be allowed to hound him.
Senior Mukul Rohatgi and lawyer Sumeer Sodhi appeared for the state government and urged the bench that the police officer does not deserve any kind of protection because of the allegations and materials collected by the police during the probe.
Rohatgi referred to the recovery of objectionable torn hand-written materials near the residence of the police officer and said that they indicated that he was actively involved in the seditious activity and wanted to overthrow the state government.
Earlier also the bench had raised the issue of nexus between politicians in power and the police officers and had asked as to why the courts should protect such officers in criminal cases after the regime change.
The counsel for the officer had said that honest and upright officials, having outstanding service records, needed to be protected against whom as many as three FIRs have been lodged by the government.
The latest FIR was lodged on July 28 for offences of extortion, criminal intimidation under the IPC on the complaint of one Kamal Kumar Sen concerning an alleged incident of 2016.
Gurjinder Pal Singh, the 1994-batch IPS officer who had served as the IG of Raipur, Durg, and Bilaspur during the earlier BJP rule, has been facing the probe in as many as three criminal cases.
The top court, on August 26 this year, had granted Singh the protection from two criminal cases of sedition and amassing of disproportionate assets.
Singh was initially booked in the disproportionate assets case following raids at his premises by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
Another case of sedition was invoked against him later on the grounds of his alleged involvement in promoting enmity and hatching a conspiracy against the government.
According to the police, the documents recovered during the ACB/EOW raids revealed that Singh was allegedly involved in promoting enmity and hatching a conspiracy against the established government and public representatives and was booked under sedition charges.
Singh was booked under IPC sections 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) of the IPC at Raipur’s City Kotwali Police Station.
He has sought the case be handed over to the CBI or other independent agencies to ensure a fair probe.
The director of the state police academy was suspended on July 5 after the ACB/EOW, on June 29, registered an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the disproportionate assets he had allegedly amassed.
The ACB/EOW, which carried a three-day search at around 15 locations linked to Singh from July 1 to 3, claimed to have discovered movable and immovable assets worth around Rs 10 crore.

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