Passing strictures on the police, the Gujarat High Court has directed the State CID (Crime) to investigate alleged land-grabbing by a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and builder, Babubhai Jamnadas Patel, and his son, Lalit Patel, with instructions that two officers at the level of Inspector-General supervise the probe.
The police should regularly file progress reports about the investigation directly to the Director-General of Police, the court said and asked the DGP to take a personal interest in the inquiry.
Acting on various petitions filed by farmers who lost their land, Justice Jayant Patel, asked the CID (Crime) to step in after he found that the earlier investigation by the police was “very unsatisfactory.”
The earlier investigation was held on the basis of three first information reports — two at the Sarkhej police station and one at the Karanj station — lodged last year against the MLA following court intervention. Mr. Patel has been accused of forging documents to create bogus power of attorney for grabbing farmers' land in several areas on the periphery of Ahmedabad. An enquiry by the Collector highlighted the scam in 2005, but nothing further happened.
However, on the farmers' petitions, the court ordered the police to probe the scam. When the MLA challenged its orders, the Supreme Court, rejected his plea on September 2, 2009. The MLA and his son have also been accused of threatening farmers and an FIR was lodged against them in Sanand. The High Court already transferred the investigation in this case to the CID (Crime). It rejected Mr. Lalit Patel's objections to the CID (Crime) investigating the case.
The court took exception to the police filing “A” summary in one of the cases claiming that the accused could not be traced. It rejected the police report and came down heavily on the police for “lethargic investigation” only because the accused was an influential politician.