DCP, Senior PI found guilty of skirting probe in criminal offence

Oct 06, 2018, 04:41 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Face departmental inquiry, as recommended by the SPCA to the state addl secy (home)

DCP, Senior PI found guilty of skirting probe in criminal offence
Illustrations of Vilas Jadhav (left) and Akilesh Singh

Action has been sought against a deputy commissioner of police and a senior police inspector found guilty, by the State Police Complaint Authority (SPCA), of not adhering to investigation norms in a serious offence. The SPCA has now recommended to the State Additional Secretary (Home) conducting a departmental inquiry against the duo.

Justice A V Potdar (retd), Prem Krishna Jain, DG of Police (retd), and Umakant Mitkar, Civil Eminent, Member, who presided over the hearing for SPCA, found Akilesh Singh, DCP zone VII, and Vilas Jadhav, senior inspector at Parksite police station, guilty.

The ground-plus-one structure where the NGO office is located
The ground-plus-one structure where the NGO office is located

The complaint
On January 2, a Vikhroli resident and president of NGO Deepak Seva Sangh, Gurunath Pednekar, lodged a complaint with the SPCA: Reliance had provided the electricity meter to the NGO office, and it was in the name of late V M Shirsat, former president of the NGO. In April 2017, the complainant was shocked to receive the bill in the name of one Jagdish Dangwal, an alleged land grabber and habitual offender. Reliance Energy was repeatedly asked about the change of name, but it only shared a few nuggets of information and refused to part with documents submitted by Dangwal.

On June 23, 2017, Pednekar gave a written complaint to Jadhav. When no action was taken, he submitted his complaint to Singh on August 23, 2017. A reminder was sent to Singh in November, but when his plea went unheard, he moved the SPCA.

SPCA intervenes
On May 24, notices were issued to both officers for their say in the matter. On June 26, Jadhav admitted receipt of the complaint and said that during the course of inquiry they recorded Dangwal's statement and sought the documents submitted to Reliance Energy, finally registering an FIR against Dangwal.

Pednekar's lawyer Mohan Rawate argued before the committee that a new method of probe was done by the officers to help the accused by not taking cognisance of the complaint. He added that even after they registered an FIR, the police, instead of arresting the accused immediately, issued notice to him to present himself before them, during which period he managed to get anticipatory bail.

Rawate argued that Dangwal used a forged sale deed and death certificate to grab the NGO's property. Well connected in the area as well as politically, he was allegedly able to influence the local police and DCP to evade arrest.

Committee observations
"While recording our findings, we have come to the conclusion that both officers have violated the directions given by additional DG (L&O) in the circular dated December 11, 2012, and those issued by the Supreme Court in the judgment of Lalitha Kumari. The investigation adopted by the first respondent (Jadhav) is unknown to law and it is supported by the second respondent (Singh)," stated the SPCA order.

"In law, ignorance of law is no excuse. Considering the post held by both officers... it cannot be presumed that they are not aware about the circular issued about registration of FIR when complaint discloses a cognisable offence... they overlooked the circular ...their act is not excusable in law."

Lawyerspeak
"It is a welcome judgment from SPCA, who heard all parties concerned before passing an order, wherein it has found the police officers showing disobedience to law and working to help the accused in a criminal offence by formulating new procedures of investigations..." said Rawate. "I will ensure the matter isn't allowed to die a natural death, as I will chase the additional CS (home) about action taken in the case."

The other side
Jadhav said, "I will make all my revelations during the inquiry and put my say before the inquiry committee." When asked to comment on the major punishment that SPCA has recommended in its order, Jadhav refused to comment and said the departmental inquiry is still pending. Singh said, "I am sure a fair inquiry will be conducted, where all sides will be put forward before the committee. I won't be able to comment anything further."

SPCA order states...
We refer the case to the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) for a departmental enquiry against respondent no 1 (Vilas Mahadeo Jadhav) for major punishment and letter of displeasure to respondent no 2 (DCP Akilesh Singh). File closed. We direct the office to forward the record and proceedings of this complaint to Addn Chief Secretary, Home to comply with the directions given in the order.

A quasi judicial body
SPCA is a quasi judicial body having powers like civil courts; the orders passed by SPCA are binding on the state government, which may request the body to revisit its order, if required, only once. The order passed by SPCA can be appealed only before the Bombay High Court.

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