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Delay in finding missing woman: Bombay high court warns Pune police of contempt of court proceedings

Crime Branch Unit 5 assistant police inspector YA Nandre had submitted the confidential information in a sealed envelope to court during the hearing on December 7. The police said that they had sent a team to West Bengal but could not trace her.

pune Updated: Dec 12, 2017 23:04 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Bombay high court,Pune police,contempt of court
The court during its earlier hearing had taken the Pune Police to task and had said, “The police must give up the habit of waiting for leads and clues from complainants.”(HT PHOTO)

The Bombay high court has issued a stern warning to the Pune Police of contempt of court proceedings if any false and misleading statement is submitted. The judges - Bharati Dangre and SC Dharmadhikari – made the remark during the hearing of the petition of a man for tracing his married daughter who is missing since 2014.

Crime Branch Unit 5 assistant police inspector YA Nandre had submitted the confidential information in a sealed envelope to court during the hearing on December 7. The police said that they had sent a team to West Bengal but could not trace her.

The court in its order stated, “After perusal of the confidential communication, we have impressed upon Mr Yagnik (the public prosecutor) that if nothing concrete emerges from the information now revealed and if the Court comes to a conclusion that these are mere delaying tactics or attempt to shirk the responsibilities, then the instructing police officials and the entire staff in-charge of the investigation would have to take the consequences. Meaning thereby that any false and misleading statement would result in the proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 being initiated and equally the disciplinary proceedings, so that a serious misconduct of this nature will not go unpunished. Mr Yagnik states that the officials are prepared to take these consequences.” The case will be heard on January 4, 2018.

Petitioner Shashidharan’s counsel Aashutosh Srivastava said, “The HC had been giving directions to the investigating agency. It is the first time that the court has said that contempt proceedings can be initiated. I hope officers concerned will investigate the case seriously. We welcome the order of the honourable Bombay high court and positively expect the department to trace the missing woman,” he said.

The court during its earlier hearing had taken the Pune Police to task and had said, “The police must give up the habit of waiting for leads and clues from complainants. Investigation means something more than going by leads and clues provided by a complainant,” and passed strictures against the Pune Police for shoddy investigations in the case.

THE CASE

Sijitha Madhavan (33), a housewife, went missing on January 31, 2014 from her Dighi residence. The couple was married for 15 years and had two daughters aged 14 and 11. Her husband Jiji Madhavan (45) lodged a missing complaint with the Dighi police chowky on February 1, 2014. On February 24, he was found hanging from a ceiling fan in Dighi. It was alleged that cops used to humiliate him and taunted him whenever he went to ask about updates in the case. On February 26, an FIR under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) was lodged against Anil Nair, who is suspected to be involved in the missing case, and Sijitha, on a complaint from Madhavan’s brother. It is alleged that Sijitha and Nair had an affair and they eloped. But cops have not traced them till date. Following this, Sijitha’s father Shashidharan Nair, a businessman, filed a writ petition in 2014 in the high court.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 23:02 IST