Mumbai: HC asks for an inquiry against prosecutor following accusations by investigating officer

mumbai: hc asks for an inquiry against prosecutor following accusations by investigating officer

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Following accusations by an Investigating Officer (IO) against an Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP), the Bombay High Court directed the Principal District Judge of Pune to inquire into the “genuineness of the accusations”.

The issue came to light during hearing in a pre-arrest bail plea filed by one Shubham Pacharne who was booked in a cheating and extortion case by Shirur police. Pacharne is a witness in a sale deed which, according to the complainant, was done fraudulently.

While directing the inquiry, Justice Anuja Prabhudessai observed: “The Investigating Officer was well aware that the Applicant (Pacharne) was on interim bail. He cannot avoid responsibility by blaming the Assistant Prosecutor. Nevertheless, considering the accusations made by the Investigating Officer against the Assistant Public Prosecutor, which give rise to questions on the bonafides of prosecuting agency, it is necessary to verify the facts.”

Pacharne was granted interim protection from arrest by the HC.

Despite the interim protection, summons was issued to him after the chargesheet was filed in the case. Pacharne appeared before the magistrate on July 2 and he was taken in custody and remanded to judicial custody.

Later, the magistrate had realised the mistake and had released the accused immediately on the same day.

The HC had earlier called for an explanations from the APP, investigating officer and the magistrate.

The magistrate said that the bench clerk had issued the summons to Pacharne without the order of the court and the matter is reported to the Principal District Judge for necessary action. He further contended that neither Pacharne nor his advocate informed him about the interim protection from HC.

Justifying the remand application, the APP said that it was sought in good faith to protect the interest of the State.

Whereas, inverstigating officer Hemant Shedge contended that he informed the APP about interim protection to Pacharne and despite the same, the APP insisted on submitting a remand report and opposing his bail.

Interestingly, the HC noted that the IO had informed the magistrate about protection to Pacharne and hence there was a lapse on his part.

“The Magistrate was therefore not justified in ordering magisterial custody of the accused,” said Justice Prabhudessai, adding: “This was a lapse on the part of the Magistrate, which came to be rectified immediately on the same day by acknowledging that the applicant was taken into custody due to inadvertence.”

Cautioning the magistrate to be more cautious in future, the HC said: “Such lapse on the part of the Magistrate could be due to pressure of work or lack of experience. Since there was no deliberate or wilful breach of order of this Court, no further action is necessitated, except a word of advice to be more cautious in future.”

Justice Prabhudessai, however, said that “disturbing feature and the matter of serious concern” in this entire issue was that the investigating officer and APP were well aware of protection to Pacharne and that it was pending before the HC. Even then, they not only resisted the bail application but sought police custody.

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