High Court seeks reply from state for suspicious death of villager in Sangli

Updated: Jan 29, 2018, 13:10 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Also issues notices to Jat police and chief medical officer of local hospital for not probing villager's suspicious death, allegedly at the hands of the family on whose farm he worked

Dattatray Kale's body was found behind the Gaikwad family's house
Dattatray Kale's body was found behind the Gaikwad family's house

A division bench of Bombay High Court has sought reply from the state Home department and director general of police, besides the local police and chief medical officer of a rural hospital in Jat taluka of Sangli district, for not probing the suspicious death of a villager, identified as Dattatray Kale, 35, in June 2017. The deceased, a resident of Sordi village, worked at the farm of Gaikwads, named as suspects in the petition filed by his widow Nanda, 25, who has sought compensation and action against errant officers from Jat police station for allegedly ignoring her complaint. mid-day had reported the filing of the writ petition on October 31.

Court matters
Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal, who moved the petition against the Gaikwads and the police, said, "The division bench of justices B P Colabawalla and B R Gavai has accepted the seriousness of the petition and accepted our argument that apart from registering an FIR and compensating the (deceased's) family, a probe should be initiated into the role of police officers from the rank of inspector general of police, Kolhapur Range, to the senior inspector at Jat police station for deliberately not registering a case.

"It was during the course of the argument that we pleaded to the court to make the ACS (Home) and DG (police) probe the police failure. The court, accordingly, issued notices to all concerned, and has sought their response before the next date, ie February 14."

Case diary
On June 21, 2017, Dattatray left the house at 5 pm for some work. When there was no sign of him till 8 pm, Nanda called him up on his mobile phone several times, but it was switched off. Panchal said, "The next day around 6 am, a family member got a call that he was lying behind Gaikwad's house. The Kales rushed to the spot and found him dead, and his mobile phone, slippers and underwear missing. "The Jat police were informed, who shifted the body to a rural hospital in a tempo without conducting the mandatory spot panchnama." Dattatray was allegedly having an affair with a woman from the Gaikwad family, which its male members had found out.

Nanda, who has named five members of the family as suspects, has also alleged in her petition that Dhanashri Gaikwad, a few days before Dattatray's body was found, had beaten her up and threatened to kill both her and her husband.

The suspects
Panchal said, "Nanda has every reason to believe that her husband was murdered by the (Gaikwad) family. The local police's action is also highly suspicious; complaint letters were marked to senior leaders from both central and state governments, and yet the plea went unheard. Hence, the Kale family was forced to move the HC. "A police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering a case if cognisable offence is disclosed. Action must be taken against those who failed to do this despite the information received."

While Inspector General of Police (Kolhapur) Vishwas Nangre Patil remained unavailable despite several attempts, an officer attached to his office said, "We have gone through the post-mortem report; that as well as the chemical analysis report both did not point to suspicious injuries or poisoning. Hence, we filed an accidental death report."

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