HC raps Meghwadi cops for shoddy job

Jan 11, 2013, 06:58 IST | Samarth Moray

Division bench pulled up officials for recording statement of accused prior to that of the complainant; Police Inspector tenders unconditional apology

The Bombay High Court on January 4 pulled up officials of the Meghwadi police station for their unusual step of taking a complaint letter and proceeding to record the statement of an accused before letting him go. Police officials tendered an unconditional apology before the court for not registering an FIR, despite HC’s order. The court ordered them to file a reply as why they noted the statement of an accused.

Court records
The division bench of justices A S Oka and A P Bhangale recorded in their order, “We may note here that the statement of the Petitioner/ Complainant was recorded two months [after that of the accused]. We have perused the statement dated February 10, 2012, which specifically records that the said statement was recorded in connection with the complaint dated January 28, 2012.” The court then adjourned the hearing till February 5, by which the prosecution would have to explain why such an unusual step was taken.

Property dispute
The case relates to a property dispute between Rahaballabh Kejriwal (69) and Shubham Dynamic Real Estate Developers LLP. Kejriwal had sent a complaint letter to the Meghwadi police station on January 28, 2012, informing its officials about selling a portion of a property he owned in Shyam Nagar, Jogeshwari (E) to the developer.

Kejriwal’s petition alleges that the firm agreed to sell him two flats in the building they were to construct on the land he’d sold them, but despite paying the developer they had not conveyed the flats to him. Kejriwal approached the police with a complaint of cheating and fraud.

Anish Shah, one of the partners in the firm, was called to the police station on February 10 and his statement was recorded. According to Shah, land revenue records showed that Kejriwal had sold them 317.7 square meters of land, less than what was agreed upon. Kejriwal’s statement was recorded on April 16.

On April 26, acting on a petition by Kejriwal, the high court ordered the police to register an FIR if an offence was disclosed. Despite this directive, no offence was registered. Kejriwal once again approached the court in November 2012, seeking action against police officials for their refusal to register an FIR.

The apology
Police Inspector Jitendra Kamble of the Meghwadi Police station submitted an affidavit in the high court on January 4, 2013, apologising for the police’s slackness. Admitting the ‘delay and lapse’, he said, “I tender my unconditional apology to this Hon’ble Court for which inconvenience is caused… in future I undertake to abide by all directions and I will not commit any mistake in future.” 

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