HC grants 3 cops pre-arrest bail: ‘Suicide note not proof of abetment’
Observing that a suicide note is not conclusive proof of abetment, the Bombay high court (HC) last week granted anticipatory bail to three police personnel, an inspector and two members of the constabulary, named by assistant police inspector Prashant Kanerkar in his suicide note.
Kanerkar killed himself at his staff quarters at Alibaug on August 18, 2019. On the basis of a complaint lodged by his wife, Alibaug police on August 29 registered an offence and booked inspector Prakash Langi attached to the Charkop police station, head constable Vijay Bansode attached to the State Intelligence Department (SID), and police naik Ravindra Salvi posted at Bhiwandi, for allegedly abetting Kanerkar in his suicide.
The wife of the deceased stated that in October 2018, while working at the Mumbai branch of the SID, Kanerkar was accused of stealing Langi’s wallet from the control room. She alleged that due to the accusation by the inspector and constant taunting by the constables, Kanerkar sought a transfer out of SID and was shifted to Alibaug.
However, he could not get over the humiliating experience and eventually died by suicide, the woman alleged.
Expecting to be arrested in connection with the offence, the trio approached the HC seeking pre-arrest bail. As regards the October 2018 incident, their lawyer, senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, submitted that there was no one else present at the control room except Kanerkar, therefore the suspicion expressed by Langi was reasonable.
Mundargi said that merely making such a complaint does not mean the trio harassed the deceased to the extent of him considering suicide. He pointed out the matter was over in October 2018, following which all of them shifted to different locations and were not in touch with each other.
Justice SV Kotwal accepted the averments after noticing that the suicide note itself showed that the deceased was feeling lonely and constantly thought about the October 2018 incident.
On September 20, the judge granted pre-arrest bail to the three, stating that mere taunting and expression of suspicion could not amount to abetment.
“Though the suicide note blames the applicants, it does not automatically prove that the applicants are responsible for commission of offence punishable under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code [IPC],” the court said.