Unhappy with the pace of probe into the attack on a whistleblower while performing his duties as a court-appointed commissioner to assess the magnitude of the problem of unauthorised construction, the Delhi High Court has handed over the investigation to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police asking it to bring the culprits to book expeditiously.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal took note of the laidback probe into the FIR registered into attack on Harkrishan Das Nijhawan, the general secretary of NGO called Paardarshita Welfare Foundation, who has filed several PILs in the high court on corruption in local administration and governance.
Harkrishan Nijhawan was assaulted with sticks on November 1, 2017, and received injuries on his head and face.
Nijhawan said he was visiting the Karol Bagh area in connection with his PIL against illegal construction in the area in which he had been appointed local commissioner by the high court in May.
The Rajinder Nagar police station had registered an FIR but no headway had been made.
On November 2, the high court directed the police to provide him protection.
“We had directed prompt investigation in the FIR registered regarding the incident in which the petitioner’s (Paardarshita Welfare Foundation) secretary was attacked.
“Inspector Satish Malik, SHO of Police Station Rajinder Nagar submitted that every effort was being made to investigate into the matter… however, the police is unable to place any concrete information before us. We are informed that the police are investigating the entire route which Mr Harkrishan Das Nijhawan had travelled on the day of the occurrence,” the bench noted.
The bench was informed by the counsel of various agencies that since the petitioner had travelled from one into another district, it may not be possible for police of one police station to track the culprits and the matter deserves to be handed over to the crime branch for appropriate investigation.
“In this case, a murderous attack was launched on a whistleblower and the culpable person deserves to be brought to book. The matter is serious and must be investigated at the earliest and efficiently… it would appear that it is necessary for a central agency to investigate into the FIR.
“It is accordingly directed that the investigation into the FIR…shall stand transferred to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police which shall investigate the matter with expedition,” it ordered.
Meanwhile, the court was informed that Harkrishan Nijhawan has been provided with police protection.
It is to be noted that Harkrishan has been pursuing various PILs concerning illegal constructions in Delhi, including Sainik Farms and also matters such as passports being issued on fake documents at the cost of national security.
Early this year, he informed the bench that despite having made repeated complaints to the Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and other engineers of the Building Department of the Karol Bagh Zone, no action has been taken and rampant unauthorised construction is being permitted.
He also refered to 55 properties, in particular. The court had then appointed Nijhawan as local commissioner and directed that he along with RK Saxena, Assistant Engineer, Karol Bagh Zone, shall visit the area in which the properties are located and shall also take photographs of the properties where the unauthorised construction is the most visibly apparent.