HC orders top Thane police officer to probe missing child case

Thane: The Bombay High Court has directed a senior police officer from Thane to carry out investigations into the case of a two-year-old missing child here after her father filed a habeas corpus petition alleging shoddy probe. In their order, division bench of justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said, "We are surprised that the accused were released on bail and no useful information could be retrieved from them when they were in the custody of the police.

"It appears that proper investigation has not been done. We therefore, direct Ravindra Singhal, Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Thane city to promptly look into the matter and take steps to find out whereabouts of the child and submit the report to this Court. "We direct the respondents to place before us all the steps which were taken for investigation of the case on by July 30," it said.

According to the petitioner, 24-year-old Naresh Prajapati, a labourer from Mulla Baugh (Manpada) on August 21, 2013 his one year and nine month old daughter Manju was abducted while playing outside their home. When the couple suspected that their child has been abducted they filed a missing complaint on the same day with Kasarwadavali Police Station under section 363 of the IPC. Thereafter the couple enquired about the status of enquiry with the concerned police officer API Thorat, Prajapati said.

The petition further said that on every visit, the officer (respondent No.5 herein) used to inform them that the accused were arrested and released on bail and that their daughter is in safe custody. Whenever the couple insisted that they needed physical custody of their child, the officer used to drive them out of the police station. Following this, he referred the matter to senior police officers but nothing happened, it said. Then the matter was referred to the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights but there also besides recording statements nothing materialised.

At one stage one of the investigation, a PSI informed them that their daughter has been traced to Hyderabad and they will require to shell out Rs 25,000 to bring her back, the petition alleged. The couple said that since they were unable to collect that much money due to their poor financial conditions, things remained status quo. However, they were able to collect Rs 17,000 and approached the inspector and requested her to take the case forward but there was no progress. The petitioner said that he addressed several complaints to senior police officers and the possibility of their collusion cannot be ruled out following which he was left with no other option but to approach the High Court.

The grievance of the petitioner is that though his child was kidnapped and a complaint to that effect was lodged with the Kasarwadavli Police Station, no steps were taken to find out the kidnapped child. Since more than six months, whereabouts of kidnapped girl are not known.

Taking into consideration all aforesaid facts, the court directs Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Thane city to immediately look into the matter, the order said. The respondents in the case were State of Maharashtra, Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Senior Police Inspector at Kasarwadavali police station, API Thorat and PSI Smt Babul.

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