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Calcutta HC directs Bengal DGP to start inquiry against police officer for harassing citizen

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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal Director General of Police to initiate an inquiry against the investigating officer for attempting to harass a citizen by misusing Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Aniruddha Roy passed this order while hearing the anticipatory bail application filed by Ranjit De under Section 438 of the CrPC in connection with Magrahat Police Station Case No.348 dated 23.09.2020 under Sections 420, 468, 471, 511 and 34 of the IPC.

Facts of the case was that three persons apparently carried a forged cheque to be deposited in a bank. One of the bank officials suspected that the cheque may be forged and fake. The three decamped and one or more of them were later arrested. One of the arrested persons claimed that the petitioner, a retired taxman, had introduced such person to a retired bank manager by the name of Goutam Bhar.

The petitioner allegedly introduced Goutam Bhar to the relevant person since the relevant person was associated with a charitable organisation that required donations and Goutam Bhar, as an erstwhile bank official, would be aware of possible donors.

“In the case records running into more than 100 pages, the investigating officer can point out this as the sole reference to the petitioner herein which prompted the investigating officer to issue a notice to the petitioner under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” the Court noted.

The High Court in its order stated that in any event, it is difficult to accept that merely because the petitioner introduced a person to the maker of the statement who, introduced a third person to the maker of the statement and such third person along with the maker of the statement hatched a conspiracy, that the petitioner may be seen to be involved in such conspiracy. Prima facie, the notice that was issued to the petitioner appears to have been for extraneous considerations and, possibly, for the known police proclivity to extort money by needlessly entangling citizens in criminal cases.

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“Petitioner can no longer be disturbed in connection with the present case in any manner whatsoever,” the order reads.

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