Patna, Sept. 4: Bihar police today countered Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s contention that Mumbai crime branch personnel were within their right to arrest Ab-dul Qadir Ansari (19) from Si-tamarhi for his alleged invo-lvement in vandalising a martyrs’ memorial on August 11.
Additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said Ssections 41 and 48 of CrPC, which Chavan quoted to defend the stand of Mumbai police, allowed security personnel of any state to arrest any person without a warrant. “But at the same time, Section 56 of CrPC states that the station house officer of the nearest police station should be informed and the arrested person be produced in local court for taking him or her on transit remand,” the officer added.
Kumar, who is also the official spokesman of Bihar police, said it was not appropriate for him (read a police officer) to react to the Maharashtra chief minister’s remark. “Had the statement come from any police officer of that state, it would have been appropriate for me to give a suitable answer. Provisions of the law of land should be followed.”
He added that Bihar police officers always abided by laws whenever they visited other states to take any accused into custody. “We hope similar response from our counterparts in other states,” Kumar said.
This is not the first time when the Bihar police have taken strong exception to the ways residents have been arrested by security personnel from other states for their alleged involvement in crime or terrorist activities. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier objected over an identical act of Karnataka police and shot off a letter to the Union home ministry. Kumar also was unhappy with the way Ansari was arrested in Sitamarhi. Bihar director-general of police Abhayanand later wrote a letter to his Maharashtra counterpart, expressing displeasure over the arrest of the man in question without the information of the local police station house officer.
Taking note of Kumar's protest, the home ministry had on May 16 written to all states, reminding them of the provision under Section 80 of CrPC. “A person arrested must be produced before executive magistrate or deputy superintendent of police or commissioner of police within whose jurisdiction the arrest was made unless the court which issued the warrant is within 30 km of the place of arrest,” the ministry said.
A team of the Mumbai police crime branch had taken Ansari into custody from Chikanti village in the Belsand area of north Bihar’s Sitamarhi district on August 26 and left for the city along with his father, Mohammed Yusuf Ansari. The visiting police team had neither informed the local police about the arrest nor produced him before court for taking him on transit remand. Ansari was picked up for vandalising the Amar Jawan Memorial near Azad Maidan during the August 11 rioting at a rally called against alleged atrocities on minorities in Assam and Myanmar.
Following Ansari’s arrest, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had threatened to brand Biharis “infiltrators” and force them out of Maharashtra if authorities in Bihar took legal action against the men from Mumbai police who picked up the teenager without informing their counterparts in the eastern state. Chief minister Nitish Kumar also took a dig at Thackeray for the latter’s jibe at Biharis settled in Maharashtra.
Ajay Kumar Thakur, a noted practising lawyer of Patna High Court, had also termed the Maharashtra police’s action as “unilateral” and “illegal”. “In any case, the agency concerned arresting a person should inform the local police according to the police manual,” he said.
Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil, in the meantime, today regretted that a purely administrative correspondence between Mumbai and Bihar police was being politicised in both states, PTI reported. “We have to take care that politics does not harm the professional relations between police departments of the two states, which have always enjoyed cordial relations,” he said.
He rejected the charge that the Maharashtra government was being soft on the MNS chief. “Provocative speeches are being examined as per the provisions of existing laws after which the opinion of the law and judiciary department is sought. We will take the same action that the Bihar government would have taken if provocative statements would have been made there,” he told reporters in Mumbai.