Bombay HC notice to police chief in 'false' extortion case
Hearing a petition filed by a woman alleging that police had falsely booked her in an extortion case and forcibly taken away her gold ornaments, the Bombay High Court has sought explanation from police why no action had been taken against the accused.
The bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and A R Joshi also asked Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik and inspector of the local police station concerned to show the provision in law under which police officials can force one of the persons to hand over ornaments to other person on his own without a formal order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
"In spite of such allegation made, why no action has been taken and ought to be taken against the concerned police officer?" the court sought to know in the show cause notice which is made returnable on August 21.
Similar pattern was noticed in another petition decided on July 27, a copy of which order was forwarded to the Secretary, Home Department, Maharashtra," the bench noted. The Court has asked the Commissioner of Police to file an affidavit stating what inquiry has been undertaken on receipt of legal notice from the advocate of the aggrieved housewife Hansa Kedia.
The notice has also been issued to Bharati Shah at whose instance the police allegedly took Kedia into custody on charges of extortion and seized gold ornaments worth over Rs 3 lakh in a search operation at her residence.
Kedia filed a petition urging action against officials of Dindoshi police station who she alleged had connived with Bharati Shah to book in a false extortion case and made her part with ornaments on the pretext that these were seized under a panchnama.
Kedia said she was operating from her home the business of selling dress materials and other household articles and Shah had befriended her by buying certain things.
Kedia had even given Shah a friendly loan of Rs 1.3 lakh. Later, Shah told Kedia she was holding an exhibition of garments and collected from her dress materials and bed sheets worth Rs 1.8 lakh. Shah even gave Kedia two cheques of HDFC Bank of Kandivali branch, besides depositing gold ornaments worth about Rs 50,000.
When Kedia asked for the return of her loan amount and payment for the articles sold to her, Shah came to her house on April 27 along with Dindoshi police who told the petitioner that an FIR had been registered against her.
Police also searched her house and took away Rs 1.46 lakh cash and jewellery worth Rs 3.5 lakh from her cupboard on the pretext of seizing them, the petition alleged.
She was taken to police station and detained. When her husband and others family members went there to see the FIR they were told that instead of confrontation they could settle the matter amicably. Kedia was allowed to go but she and her husband were asked to sign certain papers in Marathi, the contents of which were not disclosed to them.
Kedia then wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner seeking a thorough inquiry into the matter but when she did not get any response, the woman filed a petition.