Many people arrested by police stations in the central suburbs, between Kurla and Worli, in the past one year have had a difficult time getting bail once they have been put behind bars.
The reason: a drive undertaken by the police in which they have submitted the charge sheet within days of the arrest as opposed delaying it till a point where the accused is let off on bail and can thereby influence the case. The drive, termed Before-bail-chargesheet (BBC) was thought of and initiated by additional commissioner of police (Central Region) Vineet Agarwal on June 18, 2010.
Explaining how the system works, Agarwal said, “When a person is arrested and the charge sheet is not filed at once, he can easily get bail by making a person stand as surety for the accused.” When a person stands as surety, he/she is assuring the police that the accused will not run away after being released.
However, Agarwal said in many cases the accused pay people, who may not know the accused, to stand as surety. Once they are released, these accused harass or try and buy witnesses, thereby influencing the case.
“When a charge sheet is filed immediately after the arrest, however, the case goes straight to trial and securing bail becomes difficult for them because people are sceptical about standing surety in these cases,” said Agarwal.
According to statistics provided by the central region office, which oversees 20 police stations, out of a total of 1,370 cases in which the charge sheet was filed before bail being granted, the trial court has passed judgement in 102 cases between June 18, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Of the 102 cases, the police have secured a conviction in 79 cases, which leads to conviction rate of 77%.
“From June 2009 to June 2010, the conviction rate was around 20-30%,” said an officer, on condition of anonymity. Agarwal said the drive has also discouraged the accused to buy people to stand as surety. “In case a person stands for surety, we make them fill a form asking for details about any other accused they may have stood as surety for,” added Agarwal.