The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court corners cops

Cuttack, Feb. 25: The legal tangle involving the jumping of parole by Bitihotra Mahanti, the rape convict, took a turn with Orissa High Court asking the Rajasthan police to show cause as to why investigation of FIR registered against his father be either not transferred to any police station in Cuttack or the FIR be quashed.

Rajasthan police had registered a case against senior IPS officer B.B. Mahanti at the Lalkothi police station in Jaipur under sections 130 and 120 of IPC on January 10 for allegedly aiding, abetting and harbouring his son Bitihotra, who jumped parole on December 4, 2006.

Mahanti then challenged the legality of the FIR and investigation in a separate petition on February 12, after the Orissa High Court bench of Justice L.K. Mohapatra granted him immunity against arrest on an anticipatory bail plea.

The petition came up for hearing before the bench of Justice A.S. Naidu on Thursday. Justice Naidu heard the arguments of Mahanti’s counsel before granting Rajasthan police time till February 27 to reply.

Senior advocate Sanjit Mohanty appearing on behalf of the state home guards and fire services DGP, challenged the legality of the FIR and proceedings arising out of it on grounds of jurisdiction of the Rajasthan police.

“The allegation in the FIR is that the petitioner has created difficulties in the process of the arrest of the prisoner (Bitihotra Mahanti), which obviously is at Cuttack, within the state of Orissa. Therefore, the entire cause of action has arisen within the state of Orissa and not in the state of Rajasthan. Taking any view of the matter, it cannot be said that any part of the cause of action has arisen within the state of Rajasthan so as to register the FIR. Consequently, Lalkothi police station has absolutely erred in law in registering the FIR. On this score alone, the FIR is liable to be quashed,” Mahanti had contended.

The court would hear the maintainability of Mahanti’s anticipatory bail plea tomorrow.

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