Chandigarh, October 18 The case dates back to January 20, 2003. UT police receive complaint of a theft worth Rs 8 lakh, and a subsequent complaint regarding misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 6 lakh. In 2004, the complainant was told in writing his case was still under investigation.
Making use of the Right to Information Act recently, the complainant discovered his case was settled by Lok Adalat in 2003 itself when the UT police allegedly made a ‘dummy’ appear in place of him.
The facts came to light when Manoj Sarin, Director, Maxaroma Private Limited, a C&F agency of cigarettes, used the Right to Information Act to seek the status of investigations in his case that was ‘pending’ for over four years now.
To his utter surprise, it came to Manoj’s knowledge that his case was settled merely within three weeks of his lodging the complaint, while he was awaiting action on it for the past four years.
Manoj has now moved complaints to Member Secretary, Permanent Lok Adalat, State Legal Services Authority and UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), asking them to produce a copy of his statement on the basis of which the Lok Adalat settled his case.
The case dates back to January 20, 2003, when a theft was reported in Manoj’s Sector 40 showroom. The stolen articles and cash were worth over Rs 8 lakh. The police did not register an FIR for 20 days. Finally, Navneet Singh, Manoj’s showroom manager, was arrested on charges of theft and the stolen articles and cash were recovered from his possession.
A case was registered at Sector 39 police station. On February 21, 2003, Manoj discovered that Navneet had committed a fraud to the tune of Rs 6 lakh with his dealers as well. He then moved a subsequent complaint alleging misappropriation of funds by Navneet Singh.
Surprisingly, the Chandigarh Police neither took any action on his complaint, nor initiated any investigations. According to Manoj, the Chandigarh Police got the matter settled in Lok Adalat without his k0nowledge, by producing a ‘dummy’ man as Manoj Sarin. The police itself settled the dispute between Manoj Sarin and accused Navneet Singh.
The Lok Adalat awarded settlement of case on March 15, 2003. Unaware of the Lok Adalat’s award, Manoj wrote to UT SSP seeking update on his case in July 2004. He received a signed reply by UT SSP that mentioned his case was yet under investigation. It is pertinent to note that according to the Lok Adalat’s award in this case, both parties (Manoj Sarin and Navneet Singh) are shown present. It is also mentioned that the police recorded their statements, on the basis of which the case was settled.
When Manoj Sarin, however, inspected the police files and records of Lok Adalat under the Right to Information Act, he could not trace the copy his statement, and none of the statements had his signatures. “Where is my statement? In case I was present in Lok Adalat when the police took my statement, where is the signed copy of my statement,” said an agitated Manoj Sarin.
“I have written to UT SSP and Member Secretary, Lok Adalat, to provide me with the copies of my statements, on the basis of which they got the case settled. Rather than taking any action on my complaint, they played this gimmick of making a dummy stand in court as me and getting the case settled,” Manoj Sarin told Newsline.
Cops’ accountability to law seems nil