The Supreme Court on Friday asked the hearing parties to file their stand on the petition over complaints of bias against minorities and the Hindu community while investigating a case.
The plea had been filed by Roshan Ahmed, alleging that Hindu bodies were objecting to a prosecution of a person for allegedly writing that a group of persons from a minority community had killed his son, a post published on his Facebook page.
Ahmed claims that after the post was posted, Hindu organisations published about him three articles stating that he had shut his eyes to the death of his son who had gone missing and was subsequently found murdered. The petition further states that the manner in which Ahmed was investigated and arrested for online offences has been politically motivated as it was known to him that the person was involved in a case registered at Pune on April 19, 2018. He was arrested on July 12, and accused of making threats to petitioner Ravindra Borkar of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
“Litigation against a person having responsibility for a crime has not been done in a fair and equal manner because the nature of investigation has been done using his statements and the statements of others against him. This is not done by raising questions of fact but just because one takes a decision for a particular day’s hearing,” Ahmed’s counsel Shyam Divan said.
The case in question related to two registered complaints filed by the victim’s son, Rohan Borkar, against the Government of Maharashtra, Inspector Kishore Patil, Secretary of the Mumbai Central police station, DIG of the Mumbai Crime Branch Dattatraya Kadam, and Special Cell Assistant Police Inspector Dr Manoj Kovalkar for the suspected murder of his father, Nilesh Borkar, a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader. Police reportedly dropped the case when one of the complainants – Nilesh Borkar’s daughter – recorded her statement.
The plea has contended that after the DIG is personally investigating Nilesh Borkar’s murder, it becomes impossible for the DIG not to be influenced. “It appears that the case is being falsely investigated. Incidentally, Nilesh Borkar, at one time, had worked with the MNS and was not working for the government…So far, there is no dispute about the case. Police has not mentioned that if not a man, Nilesh Borkar was a person involved in the same case. The innocence is not disputed,” Ahmed’s counsel said.
While Ahmed was arrested in connection with his posts and Facebook page on January 18, Divan alleged that Ahmed was “set up” by police, claiming that the police have yet to recover certain items after having searched his residence. “These particular items were recovered from my client, but, he cannot get them back without any custodial interrogation,” Divan argued.
In their defence, the officials mentioned the articles that Ahmed’s petitioners had published and contended that none of the articles published accused Ahmed of the offence of making threat against the Government or Police or “openly insulting a Hindu”.
Arguing on the credibility of the petitioners, Divan said that it was “tragic that despite the fact that investigations has been going on in this case for nearly five months now, only now does the petitioner want us to appeal, after having accused the Government of Maharashtra in the past few months of killing my client’s son”.
Admitting the signatures of Roshan Ahmed and Nilesh Borkar, Divan said that he has listed Suresh Shamgaonkar’s name as the complainant in the petition. The petitioners have also said that a senior officer had complained to the Metropolitan Magistrate Court of Pune about how the petitioner was not responding to summons.
When told that he will raise the issue of the complainant in the petition, Justice Madan B Lokur questioned whether Ahmed had given any report on him to the Special Cell.
“We want peace and tranquility. We can’t put pressure on them. We are concerned over it but the complainants have to respond,” the court observed.
The court is likely to hear the matter on March 12.