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Effort to Shield Real Culprits': Calcutta HC Initiates Departmental Proceedings Against Investigating Officer, Orders De Novo Probe [READ ORDER]

Effort to Shield Real Culprits': Calcutta HC Initiates Departmental Proceedings Against Investigating Officer, Orders De Novo Probe [READ ORDER]

On Friday (July,9,2021), the Calcutta High Court, when hearing a petition for quashing of the charge sheet, condemned the investigators for conducting a “biased, completely misleading and completely tainted” investigation to protect the actual criminals.

Therefore, a departmental proceeding was filed against the investigating officer, and the court ordered a separate police department de no investigate the case.

A bench of Calcutta high court comprising Justice Bibek Chaudhuri under the perusal of the record opined that,

“The chain of events leading to the filing of F.I.R under Section 154 of the Code by the defacto complainant and consequent investigation by the police is shrouded with bona fide suspicion and reasonable doubt involving wide ramification in the administration of justice, persuading the Court to adjudicate the issue in hand under the touchstone of the basic requirement of investigation of a criminal case to establish the truth behind the commission of the offense”

Facts of the matter

In the present case, the actual complainant was the daughter of the deceased, namely Dr. Anindita Bhattacharrya. The deceased is said to have had committed suicide on August 17, 2017. Therefore, the complainant filed a written complaint claiming that the petitioner had established an illegal relationship with his mother and the only reason was to seek a large sum of money from her.

According to the written complaint, the office-in-charge of the Dum Dum police station filed a complaint against the petitioner under section 306 (abetment to suicide) and section 34 (acts in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code,1860. Superintendent of police Naru Gopal Chakraborty were ordered to take over the investigation.

Therefore, the present plea was filed asking to set aside the charge sheet in the exercise of the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),1973.

Court analysis

The court pointed out that the powers under section 482 of CrPC should be exercised with caution and in rarest of rare cases. The exercise of this inherent power only applies when the court learns that if the trial is allowed to proceed, it will commit serious judicial errors and cause unnecessary harassment of the accused. Therefore, the inherent power can only be exercised under the following circumstances –

  • to execute orders pursual to the CrPC
  • to prevent abuse of judicial procedures and
  • To otherwise secure the ends of justice.

Based on the above principles, the court ruled that the investigation of the Dum Dum Police Station investigators was completely biased and misleading, which is indisputable. To further clarify the court's opinion that,

"The Investigating Officer of Dum Dum P.S Case No.821 dated 17th August 2017 purposefully and with ulterior motive did not try to ascertain the truth behind the offense under Section 306 of IPC and unnatural death of Dr. Anindita Bhattacharrya despite receipt of a complaint under Section 498A of the IPC filed by the deceased and elaborate note made by her in her diary about one and half months before her death. He even did not examine the defacto complainant, the husband of the deceased, the petitioners, and near relatives and colleagues of Dr. Anindita since deceased. His job was only confined to record some statements of some persons who are in no way connected with the deceased or her family to create some inadmissible evidence against the petitioners."

Therefore, the court ruled that the charge sheet can be cancelled because the initiation of a criminal trial based on such a flawed and biased charge sheet would constitute an abuse of court procedures. In addition, the court determined that the inspector in-charge of Dum Dum Police station was no longer credible because he had forwarded a baseless charge sheet to the court of learned Chief Justice Barrackpore.

As a result, the court ordered the Commissioner of Police, Barrackpore Commissionerate to conduct a re-investigation of the case. The investigation should be conducted by an honest and impartial police officer under his disposal, not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police. It was also ordered to submit a monthly report on the status of the investigation to the court before the investigation is completed.

Therefore, the court disposed of the petition by ordering the Commissioner of the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate to initiate departmental procedures against the former investigator of the case, the Chief of Police Naru Gopal Chakraborty.

Case Title: Sri Debasish Bhattacharjee & Anr. v. The State of West Bengal & Anr

 

[READ ORDER]

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