Petitioner moves court  after investigators give evasive replies and demand bribe

Thane : The Bombay High Court has directed a senior police officer from Thane to carry out investigations into the case of a two-year-old missing child after her father filed a habeas corpus petition alleging shoddy probe.

  In its order, the division bench of justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said, “We are surprised that the accused were released on bail and no useful information could be retrieved from them when they were in the custody of the police.

 “It appears proper investigation has not been done. We, therefore, direct Ravindra Singhal, Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Thane city, to promptly look into the matter and take steps to find out the whereabouts of the child and submit the report to this court. We direct the respondents to place before us all the steps which were taken for investigation of the case by July 30.”

  According to the petitioner, 24-year-old Naresh Prajapati, a labourer from Mulla Baugh (Manpada), his one-year-and-nine-month-old daughter Manju was abducted while she was playing outside their home on August 21, 2013.

 Suspecting that their child had been abducted, the couple filed a missing complaint on the same day with Kasarwadavali Police Station under section 363 of the IPC.

  Thereafter, during every visit to the police station, the couple kept enquiring about the status of enquiry with the officer concerned API Thorat. The officer (respondent No.5 herein) gave them a standard reply that the accused were arrested and released on bail and that their daughter was in safe custody.

 Whenever the couple insisted that they needed physical custody of their child, the officer used to drive them out of the police station.

  Following this, Prajapati referred the matter to senior police officers but nothing happened.

 The matter was then referred to the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights but there too, besides recording statements, nothing materialised.  At one stage of the investigation, a PSI informed them that their daughter had been traced to Hyderabad and they would have to shell out Rs 25,000 to bring her back, the petition alleged.

  The couple said that since they were unable to collect that much money due to their poor financial conditions, things remained status quo.     However, after collecting Rs 17,000, they approached the inspector and requested her to take the case forward. Even then, there was no progress. Prajapati finally approached the High Court.

 He said that although his child was kidnapped and a complaint to that effect was lodged with the Kasarwadavli Police Station, no steps were taken to find her out. After more than six months, her whereabouts remained unknown.

 The court directed Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Thane, to immediately look into the matter.  The respondents in the case are State of Maharashtra, Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Senior Police Inspector at Kasarwadavali police station, API Thorat and PSI Babul.

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