CJI Ramana expresses displeasure over working of senior police officers

The Supreme Court on Friday extended the interim protection it had granted to Chhattisgarh Additional DGP Gurjinder Pal Singh on September 27 with regard to charges of sedition and extortion but denied protection from proceedings in a corruption case.

The bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli declined interim protection in the corruption case which the petitioner had prayed for through his counsel, Senior Advocate Fali S. Nariman. The Bench asked the Chhattisgarh High Court to examine sedition and extortion charges against Singh within eight weeks while extending the September 27 orders.

Gurjinder Pal Singh had corruption charges leveled against him by competent authorities in multiple FIRs. He had also been charged with sedition and extortion along with cheating and misappropriation of funds.

The bench heard three petitions with Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Chhattisgarh Government and Nariman for Singh. 

Nariman submitted, “I was cooperating in the investigation proceedings and in the meantime, 3rd FIR has been registered against me. On the face of FIR, no whisper about public order.”

“What happened before the High Court of Chhattisgarh?” Chief Justice Ramana asked Rohatgi.

The senior advocate replied, “The petitioner herein is a police officer, rank of Additional Director General of Police. This court granted protection to senior police officer. Some materials recovered at the house of Gurjinder Pal Singh. Rs 20 crore recovered from the petitioner. The High Court rightly refused their interim order. Is this the fashion to behave for officer of rank of ADG level?”

Nariman countered that they have recovered only two sets of papers. “They are saying torn papers, they are not in panchanama, not signed by IO, they were planted,” he said.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, in another matter related to disproportionate assets case and Prevention of Corruption Act case, submitted before the Bench, “I am a reputed officer, earlier person who was in SIT – this court stayed order in favour of that person under Article 32. False case is reported against me only when I did not falsely implicate former BJP CM. They are hounding reputed officers.”  

Rohatgi submitted before the bench that writ of Singh is for transferring the matter to CBI. “Where is the question of stay of investigation arises, My lord? Kindly do not pass stay order in item 30.1 and item 30.2. I cannot say the same in item 30.3.”

“Nothing owned by me. Let the matter go to CBI for investigation,” urged Vikas Singh. He further referred to Gurbaksh Singh judgment of the Apex Court in regard to anticipatory bail. 

Chief Justice Ramana perused the matter and asked Vikas Singh: “You are seeking transfer of investigation to CBI and stay of investigation. And you have not sought anticipatory bail also?”

“They have taken my passport, I have joined the investigation,” replied Singh.  

The CJI then said that he had a lot of reservations at how bureaucrats and police officers are behaving in the country. He also remarked that he was examining the setting up of a committee to study complaints against government servants.

The High Court of Chhattisgarh had dismissed the interim protection of Singh by holding, “Application for grant of interim relief and the same will not adversely affect the right of petitioner to defend himself, case of prosecution or at the time of final hearing of writ petition or even during investigation of the case or even before trial court in case of submission of final report before Trial Judge.”
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