Thursday, November 30, 2023

Chandigarh dentist kidnapping case: Supreme Court stays Punjab and Haryana HC order, issues notice

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The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which directed the Punjab police to probe allegations against Chandigarh police of illegalities in the arrest of a city dentist last year

The Division Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli, while issuing notice on the petition by the Union Territory of Chandigarh, observed that the case needed to be considered at length.

The Apex Court further directed the Chandigarh police to preserve the records relating to the case, after Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Dentist, said that with the passage of time, all evidence would disappear. 

Additional Solicitor-General for India, KM Nataraj, asked, “How can the high court, while hearing an anticipatory bail plea, direct a special investigation team to be constituted? This is not at all permissible, and is totally without jurisdiction.

Advocate Bhushan argued that this was one of the worst cases of police excesses that he had encountered. He said accused Mohit Dhawan, a Chandigarh-based Dentist, had filed a suit for the recovery of some outstanding dues owed to him by a woman from Nairobi on account of her treatment. On account of this, Dhawan incurred the wrath of a senior police officer, who was also a special director with the Central Bureau of Investigation. 

Bhushan said three separate complaints were filed against the Dentist. In two of them, he managed to get anticipatory bail. In the third one, he was asked to be present before a Magistrate. 

However, on the day of the hearing, Dhawan was abducted by a team from the Chandigarh crime branch, while another team marked their appearance in court. The High Court order showed that police filed contradictory affidavits and destroyed or failed to produce the CCTV footage, noted the lawyer. 

He said the order further showed that CCTV records and call data records were not produced despite the passage of one year. With the lapse of time, all the evidence would disappear, he added. 

The Apex Court then directed the Chandigarh administration to retain all existing records, as also CCTV footage and electronic records and listed the matter for hearing after five weeks.

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