HC pulls up tardy CB

Greater Kashmir

Orders immediate arrest of 17 absconding accused

Srinagar, May 23: Pulling up the Crime Branch for remiss in arresting the accused still at large in the infamous CET-2012 paper selling scam, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Friday said the delayed investigation would derail the trial.
“We are left with the impression that there is some slackness on the part of the investigation agency in tightening the noose around those who are absconding which is also evident from the status report filed by department of education, forest and PDD,” a Division Bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi said in its order.
The direction came after amicus curie Bashir Ahmad Bashir read out the latest investigation report and pleaded that the report boils down to a remiss on part of the investigating agency to arrest the accused who are still at large.
“The investigating officer shall take all necessary steps in the form of availing the procedure which deals with attaching property of absconding accused, their bank account and their salary in order to ensure that they are subjected to criminal law of the State. There evil designs shall be defeated by equal galvanized steps to be taken by the investigation agency,” the Division Bench said.
Observing that the accused wielding influence are left out, the Bench said if the investigation is carried out so halfheartedly, trial is bound to be affected.
The court said for the investigation every minute is of huge importance and remiss in arresting the accused would cause disappearance of vital evidence.
Disapproving frauds in the CET, the Division Bench observed that a child who burns midnight oil commits suicide after seeing a candidate with poor performance in academic examination getting a medical berth by fraudulent means.
The court said the CB has been issuing notices to various departments where some of the wanting persons are serving as if they are dealing with an ordinary accused where notice is required to be served under section 160 of CrPC.
“We record our displeasure with regard to the procedure followed by the investigation agency,” the court said.
“In the order dated 20-3-2014, it has been observed right in the first sentence that the status report filed by Crime Branch Kashmir indicate that no steps were taken to apprehend 14 accused against whom charge-sheet stands filed before the anti-corruption judge Srinagar,” the court said.
With regard to the steps taken for the arrest of eight absconding accused from PDD, Education and Forest departments, the court said it is for the authorities to realize that the civil service rules dealing with criminal appeals have to be followed and steps taken accordingly. “So surely these are not the procedural steps contemplated by the rules known as Civil Service Rules 1956,” the court said.
Observing that amicus curie was at pains to explain that the employees had been working till recently and might even be drawing salaries, the court said, “If that be so, it amounts to facilitating the accused in absconding rather than expediting arrest of such persons so that they be dealt with in accordance with the law. So the importance of arresting such accused cannot be over emphasized particularly in cases where vital information is expected to be in possession and knowledge of such persons,” the court said.
“At number of times, we have seen very good prosecution cases are lost on account of tardy investigation and failure to apprehend the accused at the right time. Therefore we direct that all the codal provisions should be pressed into service to arrest these 17 absconders by tightening the noose so that the society at large may feel that justice is been done to those who are law abiding,” the court said.
The HC asked anti-corruption court Kashmir, which is hearing the trial, to take the matter serious and give desired priority by expediting the trial without granting long adjournments and submit fortnightly report to registrar judicial.
With regard to the investigation of CETs conducted before 2012, the Division Bench said the investigation in the scam in respect of 2009, 2010 and 2011 should also be carried religiously and strictly in accordance with the provisions of law and the status report be filed before the next date of hearing.