HC bench cautions Haryana against “attempt” to cover up lapses in Muruthal case

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During the resumed hearing of alleged gangrape in Muruthal during the Jat quota stir, the Haryana Advocate-General Baldev Raj Mahajan, his team and the state police also found themselves at the receiving end as division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court admonished them on Monday for attempting to cover up the lapses in the probe of incidents in during strike in February.

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Dubbing the attempt as “unfortunate”, the division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court cautioned the state and its police against playing tricks before it.Taking up the matter, a Division Bench of the High Court also sought report from the Sessions Judges of seven districts on security arrangements for the judicial officers during the Jat agitation row. A week’s time was also given to the police to show progress in the FIRs registered post agitation. The case would now come up for hearing on April 11.

As the hearing on Monday started, Amicus curiae Anupam Gupta brought on record that a vital statement of a Samalkha resident was not brought into court’s knowledge and sought contempt proceedings against the state and its director general of police (DGP).

Gupta said that government had not submitted the statement of PP Kapoor, who had named two witnesses of sexual harassment in Murthal. The AG produced statements recorded of some locals of a Sonepat village, but later it transpired that the duo, Balwan Singh and Ramesh Kuar, who figured in Kapoor’s statement, were not contacted by the police. “The government and DGP are in contempt of court. I demand their prosecution. It is willful defiance (on their part),” said Gupta further informing the bench that Kapoor had given statement to police in February.

State’s Advocate General ( AG) BR Mahajan, assisted by a battery of lawyers from his office, seemed struggling to defend the investigation and submitted that the state was not shying away from investigating into the violence and reports of sexual harassment of women in Murthal.

The bench was told that witnesses and arrested persons had denied occurrence of any such incident in Murthal, the high court bench asked the state to read out the statements. As lawyers failed to produce any statement where the arrested persons had denied the gangrapes, the court took exception of the fact and pulled up the government. “Tell your police officers, they can get away with (misleading statements) in offices, not in the high court. The HC goes according to the record… When there is no statement, how have you written it?” the HC bench questioned, advising the lawyers to be careful about what they write in affidavits in future.

“The High Court goes according to the records. We know how to find out the victims that you have not been able to do,” the Bench of Justice S.S. Saron and Justice Gurmit Ram asserted.

Why the FIR was not registered in time and why the state acted only after court pulled it up, the bench questioned the AG.

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