By LE Desk
Mumbai, April 12: The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench recently directed the Aurangabad Police Commissioner to ensure that an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) from the city undergoes a sensitisation course on crimes against women before he could be given duty to probe such cases in future.
The court passed the order after observing that the officer concerned was found to be deviating from his duties under the influence of the accused politician and harassed the survivor, instead of taking appropriate action against him, The Indian Express reported.
A division bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar on April 7 passed the order on a plea made by the victim, seeking directions to ACP Nishikant Bhujbal to arrest the accused, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), as per the FIR lodged by her last year.
Senior advocate Rajendra Deshmukh for the victim said the politician had sexually assaulted her on November 14, 2020. Even though the victim was threatened with murder by the accused, a delayed FIR was filed on December 26, 2020. Bhujbal was appointed as the investigating officer (IO) on December 31, 2020.
Deshmukh said the IO did not take the accused into custody as he was a high-profile politician. “The confidence of the accused that the IO would not dare to touch him is indicated from the fact that despite a heinous crime alleged to have been committed by him, he did not opt for anticipatory bail,” he said.
He added that Bhujbal had tried to cover up the case by filing a B-summary (final) report without proper investigation. “It is the victim, who was consistently summoned for investigation/interrogation and harassed. The accused is roaming free,” Deshmukh said.
Chief Public Prosecutor D R Kale opposed the plea and said the closure report was filed after due investigation and as the accused is a politician, the possibility of his implication to destroy his political career cannot be ruled out.
The bench said, “We do not find a single convincing reason as to why the IO, while conducting investigation into a heinous offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC, refrained from arresting the accused.”
“This shows, either his (IO) insensitivity to the offences committed against women, or he was manipulated by the accused…we have every reason to be astonished with this conduct of the IO,” the court said.
“Bhujbal needs to undergo a sensitisation course/program on crimes against women before he could be entrusted with the responsibility of investigating crimes against women,” it told the Aurangabad CP.
Disposing of the plea, the court directed the magistrate to decide the victim’s protest petition against B-summary report within four weeks from date of filing of the plea.