HC tells police to file FIR against cop threatening publisher

MUMBAI, June 29: The Bombay High Court has asked police to register an FIR on the basis of a complaint filed by a publisher of a newspaper alleging threats issued by a police inspector to implicate him in criminal cases.
Hearing a petition filed by Vijay Chandwadkar, publisher of ‘Mumbai Lakshadeep’ newspaper, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A R Joshi directed police to register an FIR against senior police inspector of MIDC police station, if not already done so.
“The written complaint on February 7, 2012, sent by petitioner, prima facie, discloses commission of cognizable offence. In that case, the in-charge of the concerned police station ought to have taken steps to register the complaint as FIR under Section 154 of the Code”, the judges said in their order delivered on June 20.
The judges noted that the petition had been filed on May 9 which presupposes that the fact of registration of FIR has not been communicated to the petitioner. “In the circumstances, we observe that, if the FIR has not been registered, the concerned police official shall take steps for registration of FIR before the next date of hearing”.
The judges also issued notice to the police officer concerned and the police commissioner, returnable on July 11.
The petitioner said in the complaint he is publisher of the newspaper since last ten years. 15 persons, including six girls, are working in his office which is completely a different establishment from that of the newspaper.
The petitioner alleged that Avinash Dharmadhikari, the police inspector posted at MIDC police station in Andheri (east) had come to his office on January 31 and threatened him and his staff to implicate them in serious offences and register cases against them.
The petitioner alleged that the officer had informed that he was acting on a complaint from a builder of Mira Road. The officer then inquired about the editor of the newspaper and allegedly threatened to shoot him in a fake encounter. Besides, he also allegedly threatened to invoke Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the petitioner.
The petitioner further alleged that his staff were also assaulted by the police officer. Because of harassment, the petitioner said, he was admitted to a hospital but the ordeal did not end there and the police officer allegedly came all the way to the hospital to reissue the threats.
The petitioner said that on February 7, he had filed a written complaint with senior police inspector at Charkop police station in whose jurisdiction he resides. However, Charkop police did not register an offence against the concerned police officer.
The petitioner said that on April 27 he submitted a complaint to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil. As no cognizance was taken on his complaint, he filed a complaint with Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. As the matter did not progress, he moved the Court. (PTI)


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