The escape of three Pakistani terrorists from the custody of the police might have triggered panic in the capital and a high alert was sounded following it.
But do you know there are 13,521 criminals at large in Delhi, many of them since many years, and the police are doing precious little to trace them?
Out of these, 4,777 are wanted in offences in which punishment is seven years or more, like murder, rape and narcotics related offences.
All of them have been declared ‘proclaimed offenders’ by the courts after they failed to turn up before it, despite repeated summons and arrest warrants.
The Delhi Police submitted the startling statistics to the Delhi High Court on Friday.
A Bench of Justice A K Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke had sought the figures from the police after expressing concern over large number of proclaimed offenders in pending criminal cases in the capital.
From the list submitted by the police, the court found that names of 1,061 criminals have been expunged from the list of absconders “due to various reasons”.
The court was dealing with a case where a murder and robbery accused in a case absconded after securing bail during the trial and could not be traced for 10 years.
“It appears to us that there is lack of serious effort in locating absconding persons,” the court said. It said further, “It is observed that many accused are either not apprehended or they abscond during the trial or pendency of the appeal, after bail is granted.”
The court is trying to put in place a proper system to ensure that there is follow up action to locate such accused and sought a periodic review of the same.
The Bench noted that though police have assured that “certain special measures were being incorporated in the revised standing orders regarding proclaimed offenders”, “much more needed to be done”, "to track them down and bring them to justice.”
The Delhi Police have been asked to file a fresh status report on the issue, clearly specifying the number of proclaimed offenders arrested since October 2009.