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High Court slams police for ‘irresponsible’ investigation in kidnapping case

2024 1largeimg 423841803 1Less than a week after a youth was granted bail following his contentions that the girl he was accused of kidnapping was alive and seen in a CCTV footage riding pillion on a two-wheeler, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has rapped the Punjab Police for irresponsible and callous approach.

Justice Sandeep Moudgil made it clear that the court could not shut its eyes and ignore “larger interest” while exercising its inherent powers as the issue was not confined merely to 20-year-old boy’s regular bail plea. The matter also involved an under 16 girl. The issue before the State’s investigating and law enforcing agencies, as such, was the exercise of complete care and caution for protecting the lives and liberty of two individuals.

Justice Moudgil made it clear that the agencies were required to ensure that the petitioner youth was not to be put to unwarranted probe, if at all the victim’s mother was playing smart “as there was every likelihood of such a counter by parents of the minor girl”.

The case has its genesis in an FIR registered for kidnapping and other offences on November 6, 2022 under Sections 363 and 365 of IPC at a police station in Pathankot. Justice Moudgil’s Bench was told that the petitioner had informed the missing minor’s parents that she might have died after jumping into a canal. But the parents lodged the FIR against him on his information. The petitioner, during the course of hearing, referred to certain photographs extracted from CCTV footage to show that the girl was alive and wandering freely.

Granting regular bail, Justice Moudgil on the previous date of hearing observed that the prosecution was not taking interest in the trial proceedings. None of the 16 prosecution witnesses was examined after the framing of charges in May last year. Pathankot Senior Superintendent of Police was also summoned to explain the progress and the manner in which the investigation was being conducted.

Justice Moudgil asserted that SSP Daljinder Singh Dhillon made an attempt to convince the Bench that the digital video recorder of the CCTV camera was not on record, following which a show-cause notice had been issued to the special investigating team probing the matter and appropriate action for “such a faulty investigation” would be initiated.

Refusing to accept the explanation that the DVR had now been sent to the FSL, Justice Moudgil directed Dhillon to ensure expeditious receipt of report. Dhillon, in turn, undertook to head the SIT and make all possible endeavours to trace out the girl after conducting investigation from all angles, including the genuineness of the complaint against the petitioner.

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