2006 Lakhan Bhaiya ‘fake encounter’ case
Faulting the Mumbai Police for its failure to trace absconding convict Shailendra Pandey, the High Court has ordered a probe by the DCP against its officers
Coming down heavily on the Mumbai Police, the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed a probe into the alleged escape of convict Shailendra Pandey in the 2006 'fake encounter' case of alleged gangster Ramanayaran Gupta.
It will be recalled that Pandey was serving life imprisonment when he was granted parole for a month on November 2, 2013. Pandey had got the parole extended by a few days on the pretext of getting treatment for an eye problem after which he has been reportedly missing.
The High Court bench in its earlier hearing had warned of criminal proceedings against the officials responsible for Pandey's escape based on the plea filed by Ramnarayan's brother advocate Ramprasad seeking directions to the police to trace the absconding convict.
According to the plea filed by Ramprasad, the Andheri Police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on February 21, 2014, after the jail authorities informed it that Pandey had jumped parole, but failed to take action.
In July 2013, the Mumbai Sessions Court had convicted 21 people, including 13 police officials for killing Ramnarayan alias Lakhan Bhaiya in a 2006 fake encounter case.
“The police is aware that the convict is absconding but it has failed to take any action in the past four years,” the bench said.
During the hearing on Thursday, the division bench comprising of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone – X) Vinayak Deshmukh to conduct a probe into the alleged escape of the convict and file a probe report by May 4.
“This is a serious matter and it seems like the cops are hand in gloves with Pandey. So we need the DCP to probe what led to his escape,” the bench said.
The bench also questioned the officials why cops were not posted at the hospital from where he went missing. “There should have been at least two or three policemen posted in the hospital to keep a tab on Pandey as he is a murder convict. Even then, no steps have been taken to trace him,” the bench observed.
Reacting to this, the Public Prosecutor informed the court that it was necessary to provide immediate treatment to Pandey who was suffering from a severe eye problem, else he would have lost his vision.
However, the bench observed that even if the eye treatment was necessary, enough security should have been placed in the hospital to ensure that he doesn't escape. “We want the DCP to speak with the concerned doctors who treated Pandey and even take affidavits from them. We also want the police officers responsible for this lapse to be identified,” the bench said.
'This is a deliberate attempt by police'
Speaking to The Afternoon Despatch & Courier, advocate Ramprasad Gupta, said, “This is nothing but a deliberate attempt by the police to help Pandey escape. I have decided that I will fight till the end to get justice.”