Karnataka

HC sets deadline for completion of probe in various offences

In an unprecedented order, the High Court of Karnataka has fixed a time frame of 60 days and 90 days, respectively, for completion of investigation in petty offences and the serious/heinous offences by the police and other investigating agencies in the State.

However, the High Court said that the trial courts could extend the period on request made by the police by assigning reasons for extension of time for completing the investigation.

DA case

The High Court issued the direction while laying down elaborative guidelines for speedy investigation after taking serious note of non-completion of investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in a case filed against Belagavi South MLA Abhaykumar Patil in 2012 for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Also, the High Court directed the special court and the investigating agency to adhere to the mandate of the witness protection scheme laid down by the apex court as the complainant, Sujit, had written to the Chief Justice of the High Court in 2019, alleging that he was being threatened and pressurised by the henchmen of the MLA to withdraw the complaint.

Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav issued the guidelines in the interim order passed on May 17 on the two petitions, one filed by Mr. Patil questioning the 2017 order passed by a special court for registration of an FIR and conducting investigation against him, and another by Mr. Sujit seeking direction to the ACB to complete probe and submit the final report.

The High Court issued the guidelines after hearing senior advocate Sandesh Chouta, who was appointed as amicus curiae, on the issues that are hindering speedy probe and remedial measures required to be taken by the government, the courts and the police.

In case of failure to complete investigation in an expeditious manner, provisions under the Karnataka Police Act could be invoked and a complaint could be made to the State and District Police Complaint Authority, the court said. In fact, delay in completing investigation could be considered as “serious misconduct” by the authority in terms of Section 20(C)(7) of the Karnataka Police Act, the High Court said while pointing out that this measure would ensure accountability of the investigating officers.

Bifurcation of police

The High Court said that necessary efforts for bifurcation of law and order, and crime investigation as regards personnel needed to be implemented to bring in professionalism in investigation, and a separate investigation wing with dedicated personnel in police stations had to be imparted necessary knowledge and training relating to technology involved in commission of cyber crimes, money laundering and corruption offences.

The High Court also suggested that State authorities may consider having provisions for speedy and effective investigation by framing regulations in line with the Police Regulations Bengal, 1943.


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 8:37:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-sets-deadline-for-completion-of-probe-in-various-offences/article65469900.ece