Police watchdog orders action against Chandigarh cop for ‘shielding’ accused
Slug: Road accident
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Chandigarh, has ordered strict disciplinary action against a sub-inspector (SI) for allegedly distorting facts to shield the accused in a case of road accident.
The PCA is an independent body that deals with complaints from people against police personnel on matters like custodial death, custodial rape, extortion or any serious abuse of power.
While the order was pronounced on July 31, it was released on Monday. It has tasked the UT senior superintendent of police (SSP) with taking action against SI Balbir Singh Kanda.
In her complaint to the PCA in January 2015, Krishna Devi alleged that her son Sanjay, who is in his late 20s, was on a bike when he was hit by a Skoda car on December 7, 2014, near the Sector 25/38 road. The accident left the lower part of his body disabled.
Investigating officials SI Balbir Singh Kanda and ASI Neeraj Kumar (now SI) visited the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) a day after the accident, and in the absence of Krishna Devi obtained Sanjay’s signatures on a blank paper, it was alleged.
Devi approached the police station seeking registration of an FIR in the case, but to no avail. In fact, the car involved in the accident was released without showing its seizure in the records of the police station.
‘Abuse of authority’
According to the police control room (PCR) logbook, one Manjit Singh was driving the car that hit Sanjay. However, the SI allegedly tried to pass him off as the witness.
After the case reached the PCA, the SI had claimed that Sanjay was carrying an article on his bike’s petrol tank that made it skid. The cop claimed this had been attested by Sanjay’s wife Reena and cousin Raju and corroborated by an independent eyewitness, Manjit Singh.
“SI Balbir Singh made false entries in the DDR (daily diary report) and prepared the records wrongly, stating the facts to save the driver of the car in question from legal punishment,” states the PCA order. “It is a clear case of abuse of authority. Being a public servant, Balbir was bound to arrest the driver of the car, who was liable to be apprehended for committing a cognisable offence. This was not done despite being told by head constable Moti Lal that Manjit Singh is the driver of the car and it has been recorded in the PCR logbook.”
The PCA noted that the SI made no mention about the presences of two vehicles on the spot and claimed that no photographs of the accident spot were in police possession, which later proved to be false.
Got clean chit twice
The order also mentions the alleged attempts made by senior officers to cover up the botched-up probe.
Two separate inquiries were conducted by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Deepak Yadav and former superintendent of police (SP, city) Niharika Bhatt. Both gave the SI a clean chit.
Yadav in his inquiry report made a statement claiming that Manjit “pointed out before the authority that no one has hit the motorcycle of Sanjay”. Terming it “bizarre”, the PCA mentioned that Manjit had never appeared before it to make such a statement.
Likewise, Bhatt, the second inquiry officer, didn’t probe into material aspects of the matter and her report was rejected. After appearing in person in April 2019, Bhatt made a written request to allow her another opportunity to submit a supplementary report by the end of the month. It was this report that nailed the SI.