SC terms politicians-police nexus as new trend in country, asks why it should protect such officers
NEW DELHI: Terming alleged nexus between politicians in power and the police officers as the “new trend” in the country, the Supreme Court Monday orally questioned as to why it should protect such police officers in criminal cases after the regime change.
The observations of the bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana came on an appeal of Gurjinder Pal Singh, suspended Director of Chhattisgarh Police Academy, who has rushed to the top court seeking protection from coercive action after the Congress-led state government lodged the third FIR against him for an incident that had taken place in 2016.
The bench, which sought response of the state government and protected him from any coercive action concerning the third FIR for three weeks, took note of the submissions of senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the suspended police officer, and said the proximity with the power leads to a situation, being faced by the petitioner when others come at the helm.
“This is what happens when you are so close to the government and do these things. You have to pay back one day with the interest. When you are good with the government, you extract money, when another government comes you have to pay back.”
“This is too much, why should we grant protection to such officers. This is a new trend in the country. He should go to jail, why should the court protect these kinds of officers,” the bench said.
“You are responsible for all this nonsense. You go, surrender and get the regular bail,” said the bench, which also comprised justices,Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, at the outset.
The senior advocate said the officers, who are honest and upright and have outstanding service records, needed to be protected and Singh is one of them against whom as many as three FIRs have been lodged by the government.
The fresh plea has been filed seeking protection from coercive action in an FIR lodged on July 28 this year for offences of extortion, criminal intimidation under the IPC on the complaint of one Kamal Kumar Sen concerning an alleged incident of 2016.
The court has now posted the plea of Singh for further hearing in the first week of October and directed the apex court registry to list his earlier two pleas as well together for hearing.
Gurjinder Pal Singh, the 1994-batch IPS officer who had served as the IG of Raipur, Durg, and Bilaspur during the earlier BJP rule, has been facing probe in as many as three criminal cases.
The top court, on August 26 this year, had granted Singh the protection from two criminal cases of sedition and amassing of disproportionate assets.
It had termed as a “disturbing trend” the filing of sedition cases in the country against political opponents after the regime change.
Singh was initially booked in the disproportionate assets case following raids at his premises by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
Another case of sedition was invoked against him later on the grounds of his alleged involvement in promoting enmity and hatching a conspiracy against the government.
The state government is represented by lawyer Sumeer Sodhi.
According to the police, the documents recovered during the ACB/EOW raids revealed that Singh was allegedly involved in promoting enmity and hatching a conspiracy against the established government and public representatives and was booked under sedition charges.
Singh was booked under IPC sections 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) of the IPC at Raipur’s City Kotwali Police Station.
He has sought the case be handed over to the CBI or other independent agencies to ensure a fair probe.
The director of the state police academy was suspended on July 5 after the ACB/EOW, on June 29, registered an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the disproportionate assets he had allegedly amassed.
The ACB/EOW, which carried a three-day search at around 15 locations linked to Singh from July 1 to 3, claimed to have discovered movable and immovable assets worth around Rs 10 crore.
During the raid at the official residence of Singh, torn pieces of paper were also found from the backyard of the house.
When the pieces were rearranged, serious and sensitive contents were found to be written and typed on it, the FIR said.
“These papers contained objectionable comments against leaders of reputed political parties along with detailed plans of conspiracy. Besides, secret assessments related to representatives and candidates of different assembly constituencies along with comments on serious issues of the concerned area were also written. The papers contained critical comments on several government schemes, policies, social and religious issues”, it said.