27 May 2021 4:40 AM GMT
In a significant move, the Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered the DCP of Punjab Police to form a three-member all-women SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe into the rape allegations leveled by a 38-year-old woman against a policeman of the CIA (Crime Investigation Agency) Bathinda.The Bench of Justice Arun Monga dissolved an already constituted SIT noting that it had no lady...
In a significant move, the Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered the DCP of Punjab Police to form a three-member all-women SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe into the rape allegations leveled by a 38-year-old woman against a policeman of the CIA (Crime Investigation Agency) Bathinda.
The Bench of Justice Arun Monga dissolved an already constituted SIT noting that it had no lady police official and formed a new three-member all-women SIT while observing:
"It is rather intriguing, given the nature of the sensitive investigation, that no lady police official has been involved, which is even otherwise the requirement of law in cases of this kind. To say the least, it is highly deplorable to see the insensitiveness with which the district police officials have acted, in constituting the SIT having all male members."
Facts in brief
It has been alleged that the son (19-20 years) of a 38-year-old widow woman, while he was suffering/convalescing from Covid-19 infection at his residence, was picked up by CIA police officials in broad day light on May 6, 2021 at 10.00 a.m., when she declined to succumb to the sexual favor sought from her.
Pursuant to this, an FIR, allegedly a false one, was registered against her son under NDPS Act by planting contraband on him so as to arm-twist the petitioner. Eventually, under duress to get her son released, she yielded to the sexual demands of the CIA staff.
To substantiate her allegations, she also appended a pen drive that contained the recorded conversations between her and an ASI as well as certain live video clippings in support of her rape allegations.
"Truth will only unfold in time once it is properly investigated, in accordance with law," noted the Court.
On the other hand, the State counsel argued that the facts are fictitious and that in fact, a honey trap was laid by the petitioner (Widow woman), which later boomeranged on her.
To this, the Court remarked,
"If that be not so, then it is a case which reflects the sordid state of affairs in Punjab Police, particularly in the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) at Bathinda. The very protectors/enforcers of law and order have turned into predators, making a young 38 years old widow mother victim of their lust, as has been more elaborately stated in the petition"
The Court directed the Director-General of Police to constitute a new SIT, headed by Ms. Gurpreet Deo, Additional Director General of Police, in her capacity as Chairperson and the other two members who would assist her are Ms. D. Sudarvizhi, Senior Superintendent of Police Sri Mukatsar Sahib and Ms. Prabhjot Kaur, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Budhlada, Mansa.
In addition, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bathinda has been directed to get the FSL report with regard to the audio/video recordings made by the petitioner from her cell phone, upon the same being submitted in the Court, which shall be treated as part of case property.
Lastly, noting that the Widow woman submitted that she is fearful that the police officials who are involved in the case, may try to bodily harm her and tamper with the evidence and/or destroy the same, the State counsel was directed to seek instructions as to what steps so far have been taken under the "Witness Protection Scheme, 2018" as per judgment rendered by the Apex Court in Mahesh Chawla and others vs Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No.156 of 2016].
"It also is expected from the learned State counsel to seek instructions with regard to the time period within which the investigation shall be completed," added the Court.
Also, the State counsel has been directed to get instructions as to the steps taken so far to proceed against the accused, in criminal proceedings arising out of both the FIRs, as well as departmental action taken, if any.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on May 27, 2021.
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