The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court frowns on police delay in tracing kids

Calcutta High Court on Friday came down strongly on Calcutta Police and the CID, the investigation wing of the West Bengal Police, for their failure to find two children of the Gariahat area. The boys, students of a prominent city school, were snatched by their father from the legal custody of their mother a year ago.

The division bench of Justices A.K. Ganguly and Justice H. Banerjee observed that the “people of the state can have very little confidence in the way the police are maintaining law and order”. The bench has directed the court registrar to send a copy of its order to the state home secretary, so “he may take urgent and suitable steps to tone up the police administration”. Bypassing an existing apex court rule, the high court had allowed Sukanya Das, mother of the two boys, to file a habeas corpus petition before an appropriate forum, demanding production of her sons, “dead or alive”.

The court expressed unhappiness over the attitude of investigating authorities, who repeatedly prayed for time to locate the missing children. “The police were given time on 13 occasions and then they came and prayed for more time. We are at the end of our tether,” the court said.

“The court is sorry to express its lack of confidence in the manner in which the police have carried out the investigation,” the judges said, adding that “influential quarters” may be shielding Indranil Das, Sukanya’s husband.

According to counsels for Sukanya, she and Indranil, after being separated, had been in a legal battle over the custody of their two sons — 12 and 10 years old, respectively. A city sessions judge had passed an interim order allowing Sukanya the custody of her children.

Sukanya had been living with her parents in Garia. On April 15 last year, Indranil, allegedly with the help of his associates, abducted his sons and fled.

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