The Telegraph
Monday , January 6 , 2014
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Undue favour whiff in probe

- Officers drop charges under pressure, says IG
Arvind Pandey

Patna, Jan. 5: “Supervision industry” is flourishing in Bihar, literally.

This startling fact came to the fore during review of criminal cases awaiting final disposal in different districts under Darbhanga police zone in north Bihar. Inspector-general (Darbhanga zone) Arvind Pandey was taken aback to find incongruity in the supervision notes submitted by district police officers under his jurisdiction in non-special reported (non-SR) cases.

Pandey, who assumed charge recently, detected that police officials were adding sections 379 (theft), 452 (assault) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in their first information reports (FIRs) to enhance gravity of charges against the accused to deny them bail.

To his surprise, officers in the rank of deputy superintendent of police were removing these sections from the complaints in the course of supervision. Generally, inspector-rank officers supervise special reported cases. But when sections like 379 and 307 are implied in the complaints, officers not below the rank of DSP supervise them.

The IG was shocked to know that several cases were pending for disposal for the past several years. “It is hard to believe that non-SR cases have not been supervised by the respective officers and are pending for disposal in some districts since 2005 or so,” he told The Telegraph over phone from Darbhanga.

Pandey received a number of complaints alleging that supervisory officers had removed some sections under pressure. “This hints at a “supervision industry” flourishing in some districts,” the IG’s letter to district SPs concerned last week revealed.

Apparently peeved at the slow pace of disposal of cases, Pandey issued directives to all inspectors and deputy SPs to organise special camps at the police stations and outposts to supervise the cases en masse. During review, the IG also found that stripping of sections of the IPC had led to animosity not just between the complainant and the accused, but also against the men in uniform, which, more than often, manifested during attacks on the police force by unruly mobs.

The IG’s order, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, also asked the deputy SPs to ensure that both complainant and accused are present at the special camps during disposal of non-SR cases. In addition, both sides should be apprised of losses over litigation in terms of finance as well as health, the directive said.

On an average, 300 to 500 cases, including SR and non-SR, are lodged in a district every month. However, in most districts, not more than 150-200 cases are disposed of a month, leading to piling of cases.

A total of 10 districts — four under Purnea range and three each under Kosi and Darbhanga ranges — come under the jurisdiction of Darbhanga zone.

A senior IPS officer, on condition of anonymity, said: “The police officials should not be squarely blamed for the mess. There are examples when the complaints have been asked by their legal advisers (read counsels) to add sections like 307 and 379 of IPC so that the accused were not granted bail from the police stations.”

He clarified that in non-SR cases, the accused may be granted bail from the police stations. “But once sections 379, 452 and 307 are added, the accused would have to move court for bail,” he said.

The IG, in the meantime, has asked SPs to ensure that all non-SR cases were supervised properly and disposed of within a time limit so that justice was done to both sides. Hailing the senior cop’s order, an office bearer of the Bihar Police Association, K.K. Jha, said such an order would leave no room both for the complainants and the accused to influence the investigation.

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