Allahabad, May 29 (ILNS) The Allahabad High Court has taken seriously the disappearance of former Superintendent of Police of Mahoba Manilal Patidar and asked the state government what steps the government has taken in their search?
The Division Bench of Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi on Thursday passed this order, while hearing a Habeas Corpus petition filed by Mukut Nath Verma.
The Habeas Corpus petition has been filed by Advocate Mukut Nath Verma with a prayer that a writ in the nature of Habeas Corpus be issued for production of his client Mani Lal Patidar, IPS, Ex Superintendent of Police, Mahoba, UP. A prayer has also been made to initiate investigation in the matter of Patidar through the Central Bureau of Investigation.
According to the petitioner, Patidar is an IPS Officer of 2014 batch. He had been conducting operations against mining mafia and in connection therewith his relations with certain section in the administration got sour. As a result, he was falsely implicated in a few cases.
It is the case of the petitioner that on November 15, 2020 Mani Lal Patidar made a WhatsApp call to the petitioner to inform him that he would be coming to meet him on November 27, 2020 in connection with pending legal matters. But, he did not come. It is the apprehension of the petitioner that the respondents who are high ranking officials in the state administration, might have done something foul as a consequence whereof, Patidar has gone missing and is not traceable.
It is also stated that he was going to unravel some foul play in the administration therefore, it is possible, his life may be in danger. By expressing all these apprehensions, including that he might be in the unlawful custody of the respondents, this habeas corpus petition has been filed.
Manish Goyal, Additional Advocate General, had supplied hard copy of certain papers to the Bench Secretary for being placed before the Bench when the matter is taken up by the Court. On the basis of those papers he submitted that Mani Lal Patidar was implicated in a few cases and he had filed anticipatory bail applications in the Court which were rejected.
He submitted that from the orders passed on his anticipatory bail applications, it appears that he had been in touch with various counsels who represented him in the Court to press his prayer for anticipatory bail.
Manish Goyal submitted that since Mani Lal Patidar is trying to evade his arrest in cases in which he has been implicated, to malign the administration, the habeas corpus Petition has been filed with an oblique purpose.
He also submitted that various qallegations have been made in the habeas corpus petition by the Petitioner, who is an Advocate, of which he has no personal knowledge, therefore no cognizance should be taken by the Court of those allegations. He, however, could not tell the whereabouts of Mani Lal Patidar. Be that as it may, as the case of the petitioner is that Mani Lal Patidar has gone missing and even counsel for the respondents does not dispute that Mani Lal Patidar is not traceable, the matter will have to be investigated to find out where Mani Lal Patidar is as also whether he is dead or alive.
“Otherwise also, it is not in dispute that Mani Lal Patidar had been in the police force of the State of Uttar Pradesh and was a high ranking officer of the level of Superintendent of Police, Mahoba. Such a person having gone missing for last few months is a serious issue”, the Court said.
The Court stated that,
“Therefore, it would be important to ascertain as to what steps were taken by the administration including the investigating agency to apprehend him, particularly, when, on the own showing of the respondents, his anticipatory bail applications were rejected”.
The Court deem it appropriate to direct as follows:-
The investigating agency dealing with the investigation of the cases already pending instituted against Mani Lal Patidar shall file an affidavit stating specifically: (a) as to what efforts were made by them to arrest Mani Lal Patidar after tracing his whereabouts, particularly, when the anticipatory bail applications moved by Mani Lal Patidar were rejected;
(b) whether any complaint or representation has been received at any level from the family members of Mani Lal Patidar of him having become untraceable, if so, what action was taken on such complaint;
(c) whether the investigating agency have put on surveillance the mobile numbers known to have been used by Mani Lal Patidar to get in touch with his relatives, friends, counsels, if so, where his last location was found;
(d) whether the statements of family members of Mani Lal Patidar have been recorded to ascertain his whereabouts, if so, the nature of those statements shall be disclosed;
(e) whether any coercive steps were taken, such as under Section 82/83 CrPC, to secure the arrest/presence of Patidar, if so, the same shall be disclosed.
The Court has fixed the next hearing of petition on June 14. ILNS/AP/RJ