The Bombay Supreme Court on Monday seriously took note of changing police statements regarding the alleged unlawful arrest and false involvement of a lawyer in a kidnapping and extortion case recorded following his client’s complaint last month taken.
“Tell them we will not spare them if they wreak havoc in court,” Justice SJ Kathawalla, who ran the departmental bank, told Attorney General Deepak Thakare as he directed the Kharghar Police in Navi Mumbai to file their affidavit.
Kharghar Police arrested attorney Vimal Umeshchandra Jha on offenses punishable under IPC Sections 323, 364A, 365, 387, 506 r / w 34 for allegedly trying to extort Rs 3 crore from his client and him subsequently kidnap.
The police initially said Jha was arrested on April 3rd and produced in front of the magistrate on April 5th. They later said they arrested him on April 4th.
The court heard a criminal PIL filed by Lawyers for Just Society through Law Global, requesting the immediate release of 36-year-old Jha. Compensation of Rs 5 crores from faulty police officers; and guidelines to protect attorneys from police harassment.
Another petition filed by Jha through attorney Prashant Pandey seeks instructions to suppress the FIR.
According to the plea, Navanth Gole, who initiated several criminal proceedings against him, was Jha’s client. The two became friends and Jha agreed to invest money in Gole’s business and buy his premises for Rs 80 lakhs. They accompanied each other to various workplaces. However, Jha was arrested after a lack of complaint from the lawyer’s wife.
During the hearing, attorney Subhash Jha alleged on behalf of the petitioner that Jha was arrested on April 3, but was not brought before the magistrate until April 5, in violation of Section 57 of the CrPC and Article 22 (2) of the Constitution of India.
He said that Jha was illegally handcuffed when he was taken from the police station to the court. The prosecution did not deny taking him to court in handcuffs. Jha alleged that a policeman stationed in Mantralaya was the applicant’s brother-in-law, and they entered into a conspiracy to involve Jha in a false case.
When Justice Kathawalla tried to find out the date of Jha’s arrest, Attorney General Deepak Thakare told police on April 3, 2021, only to change his statement to include the arrest on April 4 at 439 a.m. Thakare said it was produced the next day.
When asked about the strange timing of the arrest, Thakare initially said a police officer had gone to Jha’s house, but later admitted that Jha was already at the police station.
“Why are you repeatedly making false statements to us? And your officer is present before you,” asked the bank. Thakare said he filed as per instructions.
When asked by the court, Thakare said that the CCTV footage of the relevant dates was also unavailable as the installation did not begin until May 1, 2021. Jha countered him, however, saying that there are large cameras at the entrance to the CCTV police station premises.
“What is the requirement on a police station? Isn’t it that all police stations should have surveillance cameras? A lawyer is behind bars. This is a very serious matter,” said Justice Kathawalla.
Thakare also said he would not assist the police in handcuffing Jha.
Pandey stated that the lawyer is currently being admitted to a private hospital because of the various ailments he is suffering from. In addition, the tower position of his cell phone would also show that he had been at the police station since 8:30 p.m. on April 3.
The bank will now hear the matter on Wednesday.