The Commissioners of Police of Mumbai and Pune, D. Sivanandhan and Satyapal Singh, have been directed to form a special squad to trace a convict who jumped parole in February 2005.
The convict, Vijay Thopte, was sentenced to life term in July 2000 for murdering union leader Datta Samant. Thopte disappeared in February 2005 after he was released on parole (conditional leave of absence from jail).
The division bench of Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Amjad Sayed has asked Sivanandhan and Singh to form the special squad to trace Thopte and produce him in court by November 30.
If Thopte is not found, the high court has asked the commissioners of police (CP) to file personal affidavits on November 30, said Additional Public Prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani.
On July 25, 2000, the sessions court had convicted Thopte, Ganpat Bamne and Arun Londhe to life sentence for killing Samant on January 16, 1997 at Powai.
Londhe later died in jail. Thopte and Bamne had filed an appeal against their conviction in the high court.
“If Thopte is not traced by the next date, then the judges may separate Bamne’s trial and hear his appeal,” said Sayaji Nangre, Bamne’s lawyer.