“I take notice of the fact that the writ applicant belongs to the minority community. The incident, like the case at hand, could have easily triggered communal tension to spread across the state”, said Justice Pardiwala.
The Gujarat High Court has made some stark observations while hearing a writ petition seeking an FIR to be registered against former BJP MP from Junagadh, Dinu Bogha Solanki.
Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing a writ petition filed by Jetuben Salot, who has alleged that Solanki led a mob of armed men who vandalised her house and threatened her family.
She also alleged in her statement given to the police that cops were present at the time of the mob attack at her residence, however, they chose not to do anything.
Dinu Bogha Solanki is an accused in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa. He is out on bail. Salot said Solanki violated conditions of his bail by leading the attack.
AJ Yagnik, who appeared for the petitioner in the case, submitted that although police officers were present at the time of the incident, and there is video evidence of the attack being led by Solanki, the FIR registered by the state police does not even mention Solanki’s name.
The petitioner has sought quashing of the current FIR and lodging a fresh FIR that incorporates facts from her statement.
It was also recorded in the order that the state government has not denied the authenticity of the video evidence submitted by the petitioner’s lawyer.
Upon looking at the facts of the case, Justice Pardiwala expressed his anguish over the investigation carried out by the state police and pointed out the clear bias shown by the state police in conducting the investigation. He said: “The lack of anxiety of the police and its inertia in acting on the complaint lodged by the writ applicant promptly and effectively is apparent. The police have been mute spectators so far. The entire state machinery appears to be stacked in favour of Mr. Solanki, probably because he belongs to the ruling dispensation.”
State’s prosecutor APP Nisha Thakore argued that the petitioner’s husband Rafique Salot is a hardcore criminal and many cases were registered against him. On this specific point, Justice Pardiwala cautioned against the fragile nature of the State of Gujarat and how it has been vulnerable to communal tensions. He observed in the order: “Let me assume for a moment that the husband of the writ applicant has antecedents. Will the same give the people a license to act in such a highhanded manner and lay an assault on the family members and children? I take notice of the fact that the writ applicant belongs to the minority community. The incident, like the case at hand, could have easily triggered communal tension to spread across the state. This state has witnessed the worst of criminal riots in the past. It should not have taken more than a day for the police to arrest the persons who were members of the unlawful assembly.”
Thus, the court quashed the FIR registered earlier and transferred the probe to the state CID.
Read the Judgment here.