Nalasopara fake encounter: Day after HC rap, SIT arrests 2 policemen | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Nalasopara fake encounter: Day after HC rap, SIT arrests 2 policemen

ByMegha Sood
Mar 03, 2024 06:56 AM IST

Mumbai police arrest two officers in allegedly fake encounter case following court criticism of slow investigation progress.

MUMBAI: A day after the Bombay high court pulled up the Maharashtra police for shoddy investigation in the allegedly fake encounter of Joginder Rana in Nalasopara in 2018, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case on Saturday arrested head constable Mangesh Chavan and police naik Manoj Sakpal. Booked by the Tulinj police in August last year under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code, they were produced before a magistrate’s court and remanded in police custody till March 11.

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On Friday, a bench of justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande had expressed deep dissatisfaction with the progress of the probe, highlighting the lack of any significant development since the formation of the SIT led by Thane police Commissioner Jaijeet Singh in 2018.

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The court criticised the police for not taking any steps that were essential after registration of an FIR under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. It also questioned the validity of assurances made by the deputy commissioner of police, Ulhasnagar, who said in November 2023 that the probe would be completed within 12 weeks.

The court said that it was not possible for it to monitor every small aspect of the investigation and police officers would have to do their job. It asked the additional public prosecutor PP Shinde to make a detailed statement about developments in the case at the next hearing after inquiring with the deputy commissioner and adjourned the matter to Monday.

The Nalasopara fake encounter case gained traction after Surendra Rana, Joginder Rana’s brother, petitioned the court in 2018 seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe or a court-monitored probe.

In his petition, Rana alleged that despite ample evidence including videos and photographs indicating the encounter was staged, the police refused to register an FIR and filed an accidental death report instead. The superintendent of police, Palghar, however, contended that the two policemen who shot Joginder Rana did so in retaliation after he attacked them; he also referred to multiple cases against Joginder Rana.

In August 2023, the court, taking note of the discrepancies and allegations, ordered Thane police commissioner Jaijeet Singh to lead the special investigation team, which was to submit a progress report within four weeks. Two weeks after the court’s order, the Tulinj police booked the two policemen attached to the local crime branch in Nalasopara. There was no progress in the case after this, however, prompting the court to pull up the police.

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