Proceedings in high-profile criminal cases have been hit because there are not enough prosecutors to try them, Delhi Police on Wednesday told a city court.
Asking for an adjournment in an extortion case against alleged gangster Abu Salem and others, city cops told additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna “a request has been sent to the department of home for appointment of another prosecutor, but the notification has not been received as yet”.
Noting that there was no prosecutor to carry on the case, the court fixed October 28 for recording of prosecution evidence.
“There is no crunch of prosecutors in Delhi; there are about 250-300 prosecutors. All are equally competent,” former special public prosecutor for Delhi Police Rajiv Mohan told HT. He said prosecutors get quickly overworked in such cases because they are not “given any leave or time to follow up on special/ important/ bulky cases”.
While just last year, the Delhi Prosecutors Welfare Association (DPWA) had prayed for an increase in their pay scale, Mohan said, “Their problem is not the pay because prosecutors are aware about what kind of remuneration they will get.”
The problem stems, he said, from time constraints. “If the case is bulky and lengthy then certainly the SPP should be freed from other departmental work or administrative work. If the government really wants that the person comes prepared with a particular case, a minimum comfort should be provided to that prosecutor,” he said.
The submission was made by the police before the court while it was hearing a 2002 criminal case against Salem and others for allegedly demanding Rs 5 crore as protection money from businessman Ashok Gupta, a resident of south Delhi’s Greater Kailash.
The others accused in the case are Chanchal Mehta, Majid Khan, Pawan Kumar Mittal and Mohd Ashraf. Proceedings against one of the accused, Sajjan Kumar Soni, were abated after he died during the pendency of the case.
Salem is also accused in eight other criminal cases across the country, including the 1996 Mumbai blasts case. He was on the run for years before being extradited from Portugal in 2005. He’s currently lodged in Arther Jail Complex in Mumbai.
According to police, Salem allegedly made threat calls to businessman Ashok Gupta in 2002. Police claim to have recorded some of these threatening calls.