With several missing persons’ complaints eventually turning out to be cases of murders, legal experts feel that the law governing the probe into these complaints should be amended.
Recent examples of such cases could be the murder of starlet Laila Khan and her family, small-time producer Karankumar Kakkad and aspiring actor Minakshi Thapa.
Khan’s father, Nadir Patel, had filed a complaint into the disappearance of Khan and her five family members at the Oshiwara police station in December 2011. The family was murdered on February 8, 2011. But, the murders came to light more than a year later. Patel, also, later filed a PIL in the Bombay high court stating that the investigation into the case was not proper.
In the Kakkad case, the producer’s brother had filed a missing person’s complaint with the Amboli police on March 9, 2012. The Amboli police called Vijay Palande, the suspect, for questioning. However, Palande was let-off after questioning, when his “friends and relatives in the police force” asked the Amboli police to do so. According to the police diary, the relative also told police that Palande’s name was Karan Sood. It was only after Palande got arrested in connection with a different murder case, that it was revealed that he had killed Kakkad, hacked his body into pieces and disposed of the body at Kumbharli ghat.
Aspiring actress Minakshi Thapa’s brother, Navraj, too, had filed a missing person’s complaint with the Amboli police on March 17. It was later discovered that two men, who thought she was rich, had allegedly kidnapped her. Her family was asked to pay Rs15 lakh of which they could manage only Rs30,000. Thapa was taken to Allahabad under the pretext of a modelling assignment and was murdered. Her body parts were recovered from the septic tank of the residence of one of the accused.
YP Singh, former IPS official-turned-advocate, said: “A missing person’s complaint is not registered formally. Unlike murder or accident cases, the police don’t need to file a report in the court on these cases. There is no time limit to investigate it. So, a missing person’s complaint is treated as an administrative arrangement with no accountability.” Singh said that laws should change and giving a report in missing person’s complaints should be made mandatory.
However, Nisar Tamboli, spokesperson, Mumbai police said that such complaints are investigated.