MP’s ‘criminal force in uniform’
Posted June 4, 2010on:
”Distinction has been lost into disciplined force in uniform and whether it is undisciplined criminal force in uniform.”
This observation about the police in Madhya Pradesh was made some years back by State High Court judge Arun Mishra while disposing of a petition by a Balaghat resident, whose 19-year-old daughter was endlessly harassed by the police and the lies were cooked up to mislead the lower courts. The police had even presented an “inquiry report” by an Inspector General level police officer in its defence but the judge had found the report as “totally incorrect”.
The police force in the State has since taken long strides in orienting itself in subverting the law. A thoroughly incompetent chief minister, a criminal-friendly home minister and a docile and sycophant director-general of police are there to provide protection to what Justice Arun Mishra had called “undisciplined criminal force in uniform”.
It is the higher judiciary which once in a while provides relief to the victims and, at the same time, bares the criminal intent of the police. But this happens only rarely, for the simple reason that very few persons are resourceful enough to fight the procrastinated legal battles in the High Court and then in the Supreme Court. For one such case being decided by the High Court or the Supreme Court, scores of cases of police crimes, particularly in the countryside, never come to light. Even the media is obsessed with what is happening to the glamorous urban elite.
The intervention of the higher judiciary in two recent cases is not only an indelible slur on the State’s police force but also raises the question if chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and home minister Uma Shankar Gupta are deliberately, and consciously, leading the State towards lawlessness. One relates to the murder of a former BJP minister Sunil Nayak on the day of the polling during the last Assembly elections and the other concerns the disappearance of a youth, in former BJP minister Kamal Patel’s Harda town.
Kamal Patel’s son Sudeep and another youth Durgesh Jat were said to have developed some enmity. On march 5, 2008, Sudeep went to Congress leader Rajendra Patel’s house and fired, injuring Durgesh, who was there at the time. The seriously injured Durgesh, instead of being rushed to the hospital, was taken to the residence of Kamal Patel, then minister of revenue (now only MLA from Harda) where he succumbed to the injuries. His body has not been recovered so far.
The police at Harda, allegedly under the guidance of the superintendent of police himself, helped the minister destroy the evidence of the crime. Ramvilas Jat, father of Durgesh, was only harassed by the police whenever he tried to plead with the police about the involvement of the minister and his son in the murder and disposal of the body of his own son. He then moved a habeas corpus petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. It was only after the High Court issued notices that the Harda police registered a case of murder under Sections 302, 201 and 34 IPC against Sudeep Patel and four others.
That, though, did not mean that the Harda police would take up the investigation. The High Court eventually entrusted the investigation to the CBI, which arrested former revenue minister for destroying the evidence of the crime. A designated court at Indore remanded Kamal Patel to judicial custody but the former minister was taken not to the jail but to the State-owned MY Hospital (for some imaginary illness) where he is holding his regular darbar every day.
While Kamal Patel’s son is absconding, it is to be seen when and if the CBI nabs the police officers for helping Kamal Patel and his son in destroying the evidence.
While Kamal Patel was being produced in the CBI court in Indore, industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya (who is himself facing several cases of corruption) took a large number of his supporters to the court complex and shouted slogans to the effect that an innocent Kamal Patel was being framed by the CBI at the behest of the Centre, forgetting that the CBI was directed to investigate the murder and disappearance of Durgesh Jat not by the Centre by the State High Court.
Similar was the role of the police at Tikamgarh in the Bundelkhand region. Sunil Nayak, a former BJP minister was the BJP candidate from Prithvipur constituency in Tikamgarh district in the 2008 Assembly elections. Towards the close of the polling on November 27, he and his supporters had an altercation with the supporters of Congress candidate Brijendra Singh Rathore near Nariya Kheda polling station. The Congress mob was led by Brijendra Singh’s brother Yashpal Singh. Shots were fired from both sides. One of the shots hit Sunil Nayak and he was killed. Since the polling had almost completed by then, the counting was not stopped and Brijendra Singh Rathore of the Congress was declared elected.
Both the parties lodged complaints with the police against each other. The police “found” the complaint of Rathore’s supporters as false and booked Rathore and others for the murder of Sunil Nayak, though Rathore was said to be at the time in another part of the constituency, some 70 kilometres away from the site of the crime. Having failed to get relief from the sessions court and the High Court, Brijendra Singh’s brother Yashpal went to the Supreme Court and was able to convince the judges there about the blatantly partisan attitude of the Tikamgarh police in dismissing the complaint of the Congress workers as false. A Supreme Court bench directed the Tikamgarh SP on may 22 to register a case of attempt to murder against the son and brother of Sunil Nayak, among others, within three days. What happens to the police officers who had stubbornly refused to take cognisance of the complaints against the BJP leader’s supporters is a moot point.