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Police harassing whistleblowers?

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 05:15 IST
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The monitoring Committee overseeing demolitions often accuse the police of not registering cases against those indulging in illegal constructions. Going by the rising number of complaints in the Delhi High Court, it seems the police are more interested in harassing those exposing the builders by siding with the land mafia.

While at least a dozen complaints from whistleblowers alleging they have been booked under false cases are pending, the Delhi High Court has sought reports from the police in at least two cases.

On Wednesday, the court of Chief Justice MK Sharma and Justice Sanjiv Khanna witnessed emotional scenes when a 78-year-old freelance journalist, hands folded and weeping loudly, sought protection from the land mafia who "were out to kill him with the help of the police".

Presenting the case himself, Harjit Dua, a resident of Krishna Nagar in east Delhi, said the police had registered four cases of extortion against him after he brought to the notice of the MCD 32 unauthorised buildings in his area.

"I'm being penalised for doing my duty of exposing misdeeds. Instead of going after the builders, the police are targeting me at the behest of the land mafia", he told the Bench. He also sought a probe into the death of his son in a road accident recently saying it was a murder.

"We assure you we will look into the criminal cases against you,” the judges said.

The Bench asked the police to file a status report regarding the cases against him by March 14. This comes close on the heels of a notice issued by another judge, AK Sikri, to the Delhi Government, the police and the Executive Magistrate in the Patiala House on a complaint filed by a resident of Gautam Nagar in South Delhi.

Devi Dayal Saini, the General Secretary of an RWA, had complained to the MCD and the police about one Gyan Chand Gautam, a local political leader, “who was indulging in large scale unauthorised construction on public land at Khasra”. He alleged that police officials, instead of taking action, was entertaining false complaints from Gautam to harass him, including one under the SC/ST act. A sessions judge discharged him in this case. But another petition for causing "breach of peace" was filed by the police in June 2006 before the Executive Magistrate.

Email Harish V Nair:  harish .nair@hindustantimes.com

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