Court offers relief to Gujarat police officer


Gandhinagar: In a relief to a senior Gujarat police officer in a criminal case, the Gujarat High Court has set aside a lower court’s order denying him protection against prosecution.

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Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Vipul Agrawal had moved the high court seeking protection against prosecution following allegations that he beat up a man against whom he was conducting an inquiry in 2004.

The police officer is also an accused in the 2006 killing of Tulsiram Prajapati, a witness in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case.

Justice P.P. Bhatt, in an order made available Tuesday, remanded the matter back to the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Jamnagar for reconsideration. The CJM had earlier rejected Agrawal’s plea for protection against prosecution in the assault case.

Agrawal’s counsel P.R. Abhichandani said that Agrawal was asked by then superintendent of police, Jamnagar, to conduct an inquiry into police complaints against Chandrasinh Jhala and submit a report within 10 days.

After he conducted the inquiry and filed his probe report, Jhala alleged that Agrawal assaulted him during detention.

On Jhala’s complaint, the CJM ordered a criminal case be registerd against Agrawal.

Citing legal provisions, Justice Bhatt said if any government or public officer is accused of any offence while acting in discharge of his official duty, no court shall take cognizance of such offence, except with the sanction of the government.

The court said that in Agrawal’s case it prima facie appeared that he acted in his official capacity while discharging his duty.

However, the CJM of Jamnagar believed that the act and behaviour of Agrawal was not part of his duty and hence he was not entitled to protection against prosecution.

Agrawal was among the policemen accused in the 2006 shootout killing of Prajapati. The victim was a witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case.

Agrawal was superintendent of police of Dahod district when arrested for the Prajapati shootout case.