Two suspects in millionaire realtor Deepak Bhardwaj’s murder case were arrested outside Patiala House court complex here on Monday.
While one suspect, Purushottam Rana, was apprehended just before he was to enter the premises, the other, Sunil Mann, evaded a team of waiting policemen, and entered the court that has jurisdiction over Vasant Kunj South police station, under which the crime had taken place. But the magistrate refused to hear the matter and handed him over to the police.
The joint team of Crime Branch and New Delhi district police, who seemed well prepared for this eventuality, bundled him into a van, and quickly sped away.
Mann, alleged to be one of the shooters, had to wait inside the courtroom for some time before Metropolitan Magistrate Prashant Sharma entered the courtroom. The magistrate observed something objectionable in the conduct of three lawyers who came forward to represent Mann and severely berated them.
“Is this the way you behave in courtroom? Don’t you know that the accused is charged in a murder case under Section 302 Indian Penal Code? I will not take up the matter today. Take the accused out of the courtroom,” the magistrate said.
The naib court (police personnel attached to the court) led the accused out of the courtroom, where Crime Branch policemen in plainclothes, immediately seized him. Though the burly Mann tried to resist, the dozen or so equally well-built policemen were too many for him and he was led away by the cops out of one of the gates of the Patiala House court complex into a waiting van.
A Patiala House lawyer, who was watching the incident keenly, said the policemen had no right to apprehend an accused in this manner inside the court complex. “I would not have let this happen if he was my client,” the lawyer said.
The police van seemed to be in a tearing hurry and took off before all the Crime Branch men could enter. While two men clung for dear life to the vehicle door, another who was left behind ran frantically behind the vehicle before it stopped a small distance ahead, to allow him to board.