Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today expressed displeasure over the Thane Police’s handling of inquiry into allegations that the district civic commissioner threatened an activist for filing a PIL over shoddy road concretisation work there. The court directed the Thane police commissioner to either transfer the probe to a senior official or it will consider appointing a judicial officer to carry out inquiry.
The activist, Pradeep Patil, had last year filed a public interest litigation (PIL) raising the issue of shoddy road concretisation work in the neighbouring Thane district. Patil had in January this year filed an affidavit in his petition, alleging that on December 19 last year he received a call from Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal summoning him to his residence for a meeting.
When Patil went to Jaiswal’s residence, he was threatened, the activist alleged in the affidavit. Thane Municipal Corporation’s counsel Ram Apte had refuted the allegations and said Jaiswal never met Patil. A division bench of justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla had then directed the police to carry out an inquiry and take into account the CCTV footage and call data records (CDR) of the petitioner.
The police initially said it had completed its inquiry and found the allegations to be false. But today, the police informed the court that the inquiry was still on and that they were looking into Patil’s CDR details. “First the investigating officer gives a clean chit, then today he says CDR is being looked into. Why has this sudden wisdom dawned upon the officer?” Justice Oka said.
The court directed the Thane police commissioner to look into issue and inform the court if he was willing to transfer the enquiry to a senior police official. “We do not trust this police officer anymore. Ask the commissioner if he is willing to transfer the case to a senior official. If not, then we will consider appointing a judicial officer to carry out inquiry,” Justice Oka said to the assistant government pleader. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on June 8.