The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued notices to former Mumbai police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, additional police commissioner of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Rajvardhan and two other policemen asking why contempt should not be initiated against them for allegedly violating an SC order of November 2013.
The SC, on November 22, 2013, had asked the police officers concerned to take decision of complaint lodged by Sunil Karve, co-founder of Mumbai Education Trust (MET), alleging misappropriation of funds and misuse of property of the trust by Public Works Department minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his family to the tune of Rs177 crore.
The SC order read: "We expect the concerned appropriate police officers to take a decision on these complaints in the light of the law laid down by this Hon'ble Court in Lalita Kumari's case (supra). In as much as these complaints are pending for a long time, the concerned police officers will take necessary decision within eight weeks hereafter."
On Friday, a division bench of justices BS Chauhan and J Chelameswar issued notices to Singh, Rajvardhan, Dinesh Joshi, senior police inspector of EOW and ------------- police inspector with Bandra police station on a contempt petition filed by Karve alleging that they had failed to lodge an FIR against Bhujbal and his family.
Counsels for Karve — Mukul Rohatgi and Sayaji Nangre — argued that the policemen had wilfully disobeyed the SC order and not complied with it.
As per the order, an FIR had to be registered first against the Bhujbals. "However, this is not done. This is direct contempt of court," said Nangre.
The government had assured the SC then that the police will take necessary action as per the Lalita Kumari judgment. Hence, Karve had withdrawn his petition.
Following the SC order, Karve wrote letters to the officers concerned attaching the SC order copy and requested that an FIR be lodged.
Joshi had called Karve to EOW office in December 2013 and recorded his statement.
However, Karve received a letter from the EOW on January 16, stating that the preliminary inquiry has not disclosed commission of any cognizable offence (against Bhujbals) and, therefore, the inquiry is closed.
Hence, Karve once again approached SC seeking that contempt should be initiated against the officers.
"The decision recorded in the Letter dated January 16, 2014, is ex-facie contemptuous and tantamount to non-compliance of the directions issued by this Hon'ble Court contained in the Order dated November 22, 2013," reads the contempt petition.
It adds: "It is most respectfully submitted that the so-called preliminary inquiry was a farce and whole effort/attempt of the contemnors were to give a clean chit to the accused persons who are politically influential and powerful in Maharashtra."
Seeking contempt of court action against the officers, the petition states: "Contemnors have acted with a predetermined mind and in a mechanical manner".