The Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and M.R. Shah today denied bail to Govind Singh, who has been accused in the murder of Congress leader Devender Chaurasia. The plea in the court was brought by Chaurasia’s son, Somesh Chaurasia.
The issue has been hanging fire for a while, and in late March the top court had pulled up the Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) for his failure to comply with its March 12 order to arrest BSP MLA Rambai Prajapati’s husband Govind Singh. Singh is accused of the 2019 murder of Chaurasia in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh.
Today Justice Chandrachud observed (at Singh): “There are 17 charges pending against you. Section 319 has also been initiated against you. The police instead of arresting you was giving you protection. It was because of our intervention that the police arrested you.”
On March 27 the same top court bench had noted that despite clear directions in its March 12 order, the MP police had not been able to apprehend and arrest the accused. The MP DGP had filed an affidavit that despite efforts, police have not been able to apprehend and arrest the accused. An irate top court, at that time had termed the affidavit filed by the DGP completely “unacceptable”.
The bench had said: “It defies reasons as to how an accused, who is the spouse of a sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly has not been arrested despite being arraigned in pursuance of the provisions of section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to face trial for an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code 1860.”
The court also noted that the accused was even given police security, which was later withdrawn as per the affidavit of the DGP. The court had given a final opportunity to the state’s DG to comply with the previous order of the court failing which the court said it would take coercive steps in accordance with the law. Further, the court had directed DG Police to file additional affidavit setting out;
A) The date on which and the cause on the basis of which security was granted to the accused;
B) Whether the security continues to be provided as of the date; and
C) If not, the date on which the security was withdrawn.
In a petition filed by the Devendra Chaurasia’s son Somesh Chaurasia, the top court had on March 12, directed the MP DGP to arrest the accused. The Court had noted that the facts of the case indicate that despite the registration of an FIR on March 15, 2019, wherein Chaurasia’s son Somesh has alleged that Govind Singh was complicit in the murder of his father, no steps have been taken by the investigating authorities to arrest him.
The Court in its previous order of March 12, had also taken note of the alleged harassment of a judicial officer by the Damoh SP and asked the DGP to inquire into allegations leveled by the additional sessions judge.
The ASJ had arrayed Govind Singh as an accused under Section 319 (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of an offence) of the CrPC.
The Court had noted: “The order of the additional Judge furnishes reasons for taking steps in pursuance of the provisions of Section 319 to arraign the second respondent as an accused. The additional session judge notes that though he was taking action in compliance with the directions issued by this court for ensuring service of the second respondent, he was being obstructed.”
The ASJ in its order date January 8, 2021, had claimed the accused “were
levelling false allegations against him, adding that he had applied for a transfer from the case as well, which was dismissed by the district judge. He had also noted that he is being pressurized by the SP Damoh and his subordinates.”
The Supreme Court had noted in its order: “We take serious note of the manner in which the Additional Sessions Judge, Hata, who is in charge of the criminal case, has been harassed by the law enforcement machinery in Damoh. We have no reason to disbelieve a judicial officer who has made an impassioned plea that he was being pressurized as a result of his orders under Section 319 of the CrPC. The State which had moved the high court for cancellation of the bail which was granted to the second respondent as an incident of the suspension of sentence on 3 February 2016, has failed to apprehend the second respondent who continues to evade arrest. A warrant of arrest was issued against the second respondent.”