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Archive for the ‘Police’ Category

Shivraj Singh Chouhan was chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for 13 years. His regime will be remembered for scams more than anything else. Police and a section of judiciary were Chouhan’s accomplices. Here is a summary of major scams of the Chouhan era:

Vyapam scam
This is the biggest scam of Chouhan’s period. It has destroyed careers of thousands of young boys and girls. Vyapam or Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Professional Examination Board – PEB) is entrusted with the task of conducting technical/professional examinations. The names of the meritorious students appearing for pre-medical test were quietly replaced with the names of those who could pay hefty sums to the touts and they were declared successful for admission to medical colleges, leaving the genuine students wondering how they failed in spite of having done the tests so well. The names of Chouhan, his wife Sadhna Singh and his close associates were said to be involved in the scam. As it turned out a money-spinner, recruitment to several other departments was also brought under the control of Vyapam.
Following a public hue and cry, Chouhan constituted a Special Task Force (STF) to investigate the scam. Cover-up by STF was helped by then Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice (now a Supreme Court judge) A M Khanwilkar who monitored the investigation in a secret and dubious manner. Later the Supreme Court handed the investigation to the CBI. In its order, a bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu, Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy made it clear that with the CBI on the case now, the High Court will not “touch” the Vyapam cases.
Around 50 people connected with the Vyapam scam have died under mysterious circumstances. There is no record of how many meritorious students committed suicide after they found themselves unsuccessful in the tests. Incidentally, the CBI did hardly better than the State police.

Dumper scam
Chouhan became Chief Minister on November 29, 2005. On December 12, his government issued an order allotting to JP Associates prospecting licence of mining on 470.941 hectares of land in Rewa district. Not only that, the government also allotted to JP Associates 25.842 hectares of private land belonging to farmers of the area though no farmers’ land can be allotted for mining without the consent of the farmers. When the farmers protested, the security personnel of the JP Associates fired on them. In return, the JP Associates gifted to Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh four dumpers worth Rs two crore and took these dumpers on rent from Sadhna Singh Chouhan.
The case was referred by a court to Lokayukta for investigation. The post of Lokayukta was held by former Supreme Court judge P P Naolekar, a dishonesty incarnate. His investigation found nothing illegal in the matter. Later Chouhan’s government made an out-of-turn favour to Naolekar’s son Sandeep Naolekar. In reply to an RTI query by a Damoh social worker Santosh Bharti, the Chouhan government replied that it did not know who Sandeep Naolekar’s father was nor did it know the age, profession or correct address of Sandeep Naolekar.

‘Encounter’ of SIMI activists
Eight SIMI activists, seven of them undertrials and one convict, lodged in the high security Bhopal Central Jail, were reportedly told by the jail authorities on the eve of the Diwali that they were being shifted to Indore jail. They were given new clothes and shoes and taken out in vehicles to a hillock, some 10 km from the Bhopal jail and killed. It was claimed as encounter. Chouhan ordered a judicial inquiry by a retired High Court judge S K Pande who gave a report as the police and jail authorities wanted it without even hearing the others.

Shehla Masood murder
RTI activist Shehla Masood was gunned down in front of her house. Then Director-General of Police S K Raut, Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) R K Shukla (who is DGP now) and other senior police officers reached the spot promptly and messed up with the evidence. Masood was said to have made RTI queries about some illegal mining operations in which involvement of Chouhan’s close relations was alleged. She was also said to have made queries about the late Anil Dave’s Narmada Samagra. Dave had an unusual hold over Chouhan and was running several rackets with the help of Chouhan. The police, or the CBI which had later taken up the investigation, did not even question top police officers nor did they interrogate retired Medico-Legal Institute Director D K Satpathy who had prepared a made-to-order post mortem examination report. Meddling with murder evidence attracts imprisonment and deprivation of post-retirement benefits. Could these high government officers have taken the risk without an assurance from the Chief Minister?

Sabharwal murder
Prof. H S Sabharwal (of Madhav College of Ujjain) was beaten to death allegedly by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists enraged at the Professor’s decision to postpone the students’ union elections following rowdyism. Six of the top ABVP activists were booked for murder. Chouhan’s police bungled the investigation. Supreme Court, while transferring the hearing of the case from Ujjain court to Nagpur court disapproved of the police conduct and made some harsh remarks. The Nagpur court acquitted all of them saying the police could not produce evidence of their involvement in the murder.

Disappearance of a rape victim
A girl, belonging to a poor family of Indore, was gang-raped. The girl’s parents met chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during the latter’s visit to Indore a little after the incident and the chief minister promised early arrest of the perpetrators of the heinous crime as well as some financial help to the family. Months passed and nothing happened. The girl, along with her mother, travelled to Bhopal to meet the chief minister and remind him of his promises. They were sitting near gate number six of the Chief Minister’s residence (where the Chief Minister met the petitioners). From there the girl disappeared. Neither the girl nor her mother have been traceable since then.

Hit and run victim
A middle-aged man was going on his two-wheeler to his shop around one in the afternoon. On the wide road in the MP Nagar, a car hit him from behind and sped away before anybody could read the number of the car. The victim received head injuries and fell unconscious but he, somehow, survived.
What made the incident different from such other happenings was that the victim in this case was Raman Rusiya, younger brother of Madan Gopal Rusiya, who was the Bhopal Development Authority (BDA) chief executive officer (CEO), and was taken to Delhi by BJP MLA Jitendra Daga (whose land was marked to be acquired by the BDA for development of new colonies) but never returned to Bhopal. His body was recovered from a ditch near the railway track, some 30 kms away from Agra. Madan Gopal’s family members, his hit-and-run victim younger brother included, had been talking of a high level conspiracy to eliminate Madan Gopal and demanding a CBI inquiry. However, the district police chief ruled out a foul play even without it was known whose car it was or who was driving it when it hit Raman Rusiya.

Death by ritual shooting
There were scores of RSS activists assembled at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Kotra locality (of Bhopal) on the day of the Dussehra for “Shastra Pooja” (worship of weapons). RSS Pracharak Naresh Motwani, in his late forties, arrived. There was the sound of a gunshot and all those present escaped. Two RSS activists, having come from outside, arrived there half an hour later and found Motwani’s body lying in a pool of blood. They carried him in the auto in which they had come and took him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.
The district police chief ruled out a foul play even though neither the weapon of offence had been recovered nor had it been known who had fired it. Four days later, following tremendous pressure from the people in general, and Motwani’s relations in particular, a case of causing death by negligence against unknown person(s) was registered. Motwani’s son, Vijay, had all along been saying that his father had been murdered.

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At Rajiv Gandhi Government College in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists went to submit a memorandum to the principal. They were shouting slogans in the corridor. Professor Dinesh Gupta, who was taking the class in one of the rooms there, came out and asked the activists not to shout slogans as it was disturbing the teaching. Enraged at the audacity of the professor to ask them not to raise patriotic slogans, the activists almost pounced on him and called him ‘anti-national’.

A video that went viral soon after the incident on September 28 shows the Professor, a heart patient, apologising profusely and touching the feet of the ABVP activists. He is heard mumbling “Maine padhane ka apraadh kiya hai. Maafi maangta hun” (I have committed the crime of teaching. I apologise).

 

ABVP had become a menace to the society soon after Shivraj Singh Chouhan became Chief Minister at the end of November 2005. Chouhan, who was once himself an ABVP activist is providing full protection to the Parishad’s criminal activities. Chouhan’s police personnel, including top IPS officers, are behaving most abominably where ABVP is involved. The State police chief was holding a meeting of police officers of the region in Indore. Activists of ABVP and Bajrang Dal went to submit a memorandum to the DGP and were prevented by the Havaldar on guard duty with the observation that the meeting was on. The havaldar was manhandled by the goons. The DGP dare not take action against ABVP/Bajrang Dal activists. Governor Ram Naresh Yadav once wrote to Chouhan to check rowdyism by the ABVP activists at educational institutions. Chouhan did not do anything. The most glaring example of Chouhan’s surrender of his constitutional authority before the ABVP mafia was witnessed after the murder of Prof Sabharwal.

 

Prof H S Sabharwal of Madhav College (Ujjain) was asked to conduct the College Union elections in August 2006. Finding irregularities, he decided to cancel the elections for which he was attacked by a group of students, belonging to the ABVP. The police personnel on duty did not act. Prof M L Nath, a colleague of Prof Sabharwal, was manhandled by a group led by ABVP State President Shashi Ranjan Singh Akela and Organising Secretary Vimal Tomar when he tried to intervene.   

As Prof Sabharwal was taken to the hospital by his colleagues and declared dead there, Chief Minister Chauhan went public with the statement that Prof Sabharwal had died in an accident and that the ABVP had nothing to do with his death. However, the visuals of the ABVP activists’ role in the crime repeatedly shown on the TV channels and the countrywide outrage over the murder of the Professor forced Chauhan to ask the police to ‘investigate’. (Ironically, Prof Sabharwal was a founder member of the Vidyarthi Parishad which was later renamed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).

Initially, the police had arrested 22 persons, mostly belonging to the Congress, in connection with the rowdyism on the Madhav College campus. However, under public pressure (the attack on Prof Sabharwal had made the national headlines), 12 students owing allegiance to ABVP were named accused in the murder. Ultimately, the challan under Sections 302 and 147 IPC was put up against six of them. They were: Shashi Ranjan Akela (State President of ABVP); Vimal Tomar (Divisional Organising Secretary, ABVP); Vishal Rajoria (member of State Executive, ABVP); Hemant Dube (District Convener, ABVP); Sudhir Yadav and Pankaj Mishra (activists of ABVP).

While the police “investigation” in the murder was going on, the Chief Minister had a 20-minute one-to-one talk with Vimal Tomar, one of the six accused. Tomar, then in custody in Ujjain, was admitted to the State-run M Y Hospital at Indore purportedly for treatment. Chouhan met him there. Tomar was “cured” immediately after meeting the Chief Minister and he was sent back to the custody at Ujjain.

Bungling by police

As the witnesses (even the policemen who were eye-witnesses) started turning hostile, the murdered Professor’s son Himanshu knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court. A division bench comprising Arijit Payasat and D K Jain stayed the proceedings in the Ujjain court and asked the BJP government of the State, through its counsel: “What action have you taken against those police officers who resiled from their earlier statements? Would not the trial be a mockery if your police officers turned hostile? Our anxiety is that every police officer will be given a clean chit. We have seen what has happened in the Best Bakery case.”

In the March 12, 2008 order, eventually transferring the trial of the case from Ujjain to Nagpur, the bench observed: “Late Prof H S Sabharwal was a professor in Government College, Ujjain, MP. He was brutally beaten up by certain persons, for taking a rigid stand in the college union elections. Though the assaults were made in the presence of several police officials, media persons and members of public, attempt has been made to project as if his death was a result of an accident. Initially, First Information Report was lodged and after investigation charge sheet was filed and charges have been framed against several persons who are respondents 2 to 7 in the Transfer Petition. The trial commenced in the Court of Sessions Judge, Ujjain, being Sessions Case No. 291 of 2006. During examination of several witnesses who were stated to be eyewitnesses, such witnesses resiled from the statements made during investigation. There were even three police witnesses who also resiled from their earlier statements. They are Dhara Singh (PW-32), Sukhnandan (PW-33) and Dilip Tripathi (PW-34)”.

The bench added: “Grievance of the petitioner is that the witnesses have been coerced, threatened and ultimately justice is a casualty. Role of the investigating officer gives ample scope to doubt impartiality and the sincerity of the investigating agency. Similar is the position of the public prosecutor. It is also highlighted that the trial Court also did not make a serious effort to see that justice is done. In this connection it is pointed out that public prosecutor did not cross-examine the persons who had resiled from their statements made during investigation….”

The trial culminated exactly as Justices Arijit Payasat and D K Jain of the Supreme Court had visualised and the partiality and lack of sincerity on the part of the investigating agency as well as the public prosecutor were much too evident till the last. Justice has been denied to late Prof Sabharwal.

All the six ABVP activists, accused in the murder of Prof H S Sabharwal, were acquitted by Additional District and Sessions Judge Nitin Dalvi, at Nagpur, on the ground that “the prosecution has failed to put up evidence to prove its case and hence the court acquits all six accused.” 


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No liberty, peace or justice!

When there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty;
When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace;
When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.
— Lin Yutang

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