NEW DELHI: Stating that “an effort is being made to shield the accused", the Supreme Court has directed the Madhya Pradesh police chief to ensure the arrest of a BSP MLA's husband, who is wanted in a two-year-old murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chourasia, before April 5 and warned him of coercive action.
It directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to file a reply mentioning when and for what reason security was granted to Govind Singh, the husband of BSP MLA Rambai Singh, and whether the security is still being provided to him.
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and M R Shah termed as “unacceptable” an affidavit by the DGP in which he stated that despite the efforts which were made in pursuance of the previous order of the court on March 12, the police have not been able to apprehend and arrest the accused.
“We issue a direction to the Director General of Police to take necessary steps to ensure that the previous order of this court is complied with before the next date of listing, failing which the court will be constrained to take coercive steps in accordance with law”, the bench said.
The top court said that the DGP’s affidavit, “defies reason as to how an accused who is the spouse of a sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly has not been arrested despite being arraigned in pursuance of the provisions of Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to face trial for an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code 1860”.
The top court said that “an effort is being made to shield the accused from the due process of criminal law”.
In its March 26 order, the bench said, “The court was informed that earlier the accused was even given security by the police though it is stated by Counsel for the State that it is now withdrawn”.
It said that the DGP should also apprise the court the date on which the security was withdrawn.
The top court was hearing pleas by Somesh, son of Devendra Chaurasia, and the state government seeking cancellation of bail granted to Govind Singh.
The pleas claimed he was involved in several murder cases while on bail.
On March 13, the top court had taken “serious note” of the Madhya Pradesh Police''s failure to arrest Govind Singh and the alleged harassment of a judicial officer by the Damoh Superintendent of Police. It had asked the DGP to enquire into the allegations levelled by the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ).
The ASJ, who is conducting the trial in cases involving Govind Singh, has made him an accused in the murder case under section 319 of CrPC (Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence).
The judge had noted in his February 8 order that he is being “pressured” by the Damoh SP and his subordinates.
The top court had noted that despite a non-bailable arrest warrant against Govind Singh, he has evaded arrest and "the rule of law must be preserved” by arresting him.
It had said the judicial officer has claimed that the accused, who are "highly influential political persons", have raised false allegations against him and apprehends that he may be subjected to an "unpleasant incident" in the future.
"We take serious note of the manner in which the Additional Sessions Judge, Hata, who is in charge of the criminal case, has been harassed by the law enforcement machinery in Damoh.
"We have no reason to disbelieve a judicial officer who has made an impassioned plea that he was being pressurized as a result of his orders under Section 319 of the CrPC," the top court had said.
It had asked the DGP to enquire into the allegations against the Damoh Superintendent of Police and even sought a response from the SP.
The top court had noted that despite the registration of an FIR on March 15, 2019, in which Somesh has alleged that Govind Singh was complicit in the murder of his father, no steps have been taken by the investigating authorities to arrest him.
The top court had directed the state government to provide adequate security to the judicial officer.
The Madhya Pradesh government had earlier submitted to the top court that a warrant of arrest was issued against Singh and a proclamation under Section 82 of the CrPC on March 4 with an award of Rs 10,000.
Chaurasia was killed in March 2019 after he joined the Congress. The police had then registered a murder case against Govind Singh and others.