In one of the many cases of police's laying false criminal charges on non-resident Indians (NRIs) in Punjab and Haryana to extort money, the high court of the two states has denied bail to a Haryana sub-inspector notorious for it.
Taking a sombre view of these cases on Saturday, justice Mehinder Singh Sullar said: "The tendency and frequency of implicating innocent people falsely with mala-fide intention by such police officials have been increasing tremendously day by day, which needs to be curbed with a heavy hand."
Haryana SI Dharampal had approached the high court for anticipatory bail. With mala-fide intention, he had converted a case of accident registered in April 2002 against an unidentified driver at Badshahpur, Gurgaon, into a case of murder, trapping NRI Ajit Singh of the US in the matter for nine years until the high court gave him clean chit in 2011.
Dharampal had also fabricated evidence and planted witnesses to implicate the NRI and ensure his conviction in the murder case in 2004. The false case had shattered the NRI's family and prevented him from joining his children and ailing wife in the US. He also lost his reputation and job in America.
In 2004, the NRI had moved the high court in a criminal appeal against the trial court order of his conviction. Shocked to hear his story, the court accepted his appeal in February 2011. "If such a treatment is meted out to an innocent NRI by the uniformed force (police), no non-resident Indian will think of pleasant tour to motherland… will give a wrong message to the people living permanently on foreign shores," the division bench had then said.
It had also directed the director general of Haryana Police to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Dharampal and ordered the state government to bear the entire expenditure of flying him to the US and getting clearance from the Indian authorities.
An order was given for a case in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Chandigarh against the police officer. Instead of submitting to the jurisdiction of the trial court, Dharampal had preferred to file petition for anticipatory bail in the high court, which was dismissed on Friday.