The issue of those accused going missing after getting bail has been under the Bombay high court scanner since 2005.
The high court had asked the Maharashtra government to crack the whip on absconding accused when it came to light in 2005 that there were a number of accused who had jumped bail or parole or furlough.
The high court had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the number of absconding accused while hearing an appeal by a convict – Ramzan
Sabit Hussain – who had jumped bail in 2003.
Even after the court cancelled his bail, the police could not trace him. Hussain was convicted in 1993 in a murder case.
Periodically, the police have been filing reports on the number of accused they have been able to trace and arrest again, which is meagre.
In October, special cells were formed at all police stations to trace absconding accused. The cell has a senior police inspector who is assisted by 3 or 4 constables.
In December, additional public prosecutor Ajey Gadkari submitted a status report that showed that the police had managed to nab 108 of the 14,230 accused. Also, 54 accused who were untraceable had died.
A report that was prepared by the office of the director general of police (DGP) was also submitted, which stated that Mumbai leads the list with 14,068 accused being absconding after being released on bail as of December 18, 2010.
However, a startling fact that remained to be scrutinised was the number of non-existent sureties that the police never informed the court about.
During one of the hearings, the court had remarked that the police should consider initiating action against those who stood as sureties to get bail for a convict / undertrial.
“You (the government) should consider setting up a separate wing to trace these people. Also, start taking action against those who have stood surety for untraceable accused/convicts,” justice Khanwilkar had said on October 10, 2010.