Mumbai: Questioning police’s handling of missing complaints, the Bombay High Court today said that if anybody approaches a police station saying a child or woman relative is missing the police should first take down the complaint, instead of worrying about the jurisdiction.
The remarks were made by a division bench of Justices N H Patil and Anuja Prabhudesai while hearing a petition filed by advocate and activist Abha Singh seeking probe by the state Crime Investigation Department (CID) into the gross inaction by police officers, who failed to act on the missing complaint filed by the family of techie Esther Anuhya.
Esther had gone missing on January 5 after alighting at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in suburban Kurla. Her decomposed body was found on January 16 in suburban Kanjurmarg. The police yesterday arrested one Chandrabhan Sanap for the murder of Esther. According to the petition, when Esther’s uncle had approached the MIDC police and Kurla railway police on January 5 to report that his niece was missing, the police officials there turned him away without taking down his complaint.
Only after Esther’s father approached the Vijayawada police in Andhra Pradesh and the police there sent a letter to the Kurla railway police, a missing complaint was lodged on January 8. Esther went missing on January 5. For three days the police did nothing, Abha argued.
The court then sought to know the mechanism adopted by the police while handling such cases. If a person approaches the police saying his or her woman relative is missing what does the police do? Shouldn’t they first note down the complaint instead of worrying about whether the case falls under their jurisdiction? Instead of asking the already troubled relative to run from one police station to another, shouldn’t the police take down the complaint and intimate the concerned police station, Justice Patil questioned.
Public prosecutor S K Shinde informed the court that several circulars have been issued, by which the police is bound to register missing complaints if a person gives a written complaint. In the present case, it is not that the Kurla railway police did nothing. On January 5 itself police went through the CCTV footage.
When they could not spot the girl in the footage, the police called for the reservation chart, Shinde said. The bench directed the senior police inspector of Kurla railway police to file an affidavit in response to the petition within two weeks. A petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking independent probe by the state Crime Investigation Department (CID) into the gross inaction by police officers who failed to act on the missing complaint filed by family of techie Esther Anuya who was found dead.
The petition filed by advocate and activist Abha Singh sought for registration of offence against the errant police officers who failed to conduct necessary investigation into the missing complaint of Esther.
According to the petition, the police’s failure to act timely resulted in the abduction of young girl and then her death. On December 24, 2013, Esther, who was working as an employee of TCS Mumbai, went to Macchilipatanam for Christmas vacation with her parents. She returned to Mumbai on January 5 night and took an auto rickshaw from the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in suburban Mumbai but never reached home. Esther’s brother and father came to Mumbai to lodge a missing complaint when they did not hear from Esther.
The MIDC Police Station, Andheri, did not register their complaint and told them to go to Kurla Railway Police Station. However, when the matter was reported to Kurla Railway Police Station, they also did not register the complaint, and told that the matter be reported to Vijaywada police station in Andhra Pradesh.
Instead of registering FIR and looking into the case, police made Esther’s father run from one police station to another, Singh said in her petition. On January 16, Esther’s partially burnt body was recovered off the Eastern Express Highway near suburban Kanjurmarg.
It was after this, that an FIR was registered by Kanjurmarg police. For the reason of delay of almost 11 days in registering the FIR since the abduction took place, valuable clues and evidence was lost. For this reason, as on this day, the case remains undetected, and a crime which would have got prevented by taking proper action duly prescribed under the rules contained in the Bombay Police Manual and other provisions of law, could not be prevented, states Singh’s petition.
Singh has prayed that an enquiry be ordered by a senior officer to ensure that responsibility be fixed on the delinquent police officers, so that administrative and prosecution action could be taken in this reference.