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HC admits Sharma's petition challenging arrest
January 07, 2004 14:00 IST
Last Updated: January 07, 2004 14:17 IST
The Bombay high court on Wednesday admitted a petition filed by former police commissioner R S Sharma challenging his arrest under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the multicrore stamps scam.
Justice V G Palshikar and Justice P V Kakade deferred the matter to January 15 to decide Sharma's plea to restrain the Special Investigation Team from extending his custody further.
On the same day, the bench would fix a date for final hearing on the petition.
Sharma challenged applicability of MCOCA and said the provisions of this Act under which he had been arrested were illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution.
Sharma also challenged the appointment of S S Puri as the head of SIT with the rank of Director General of Police and pleaded for his removal.
However, on Wednesday, he did not press for declaring Puri's appointment illegal as another bench of the high court, hearing Public Interest Litigation on alleged lopsided probe in this case, was seized of the matter.
As regards applicability of MCOCA, Sharma's counsel V R Manohar and S R Chitnis argued the alleged offence specified in section three of the Act under which the former police chief had been arrested did not apply in his case.
The charges levelled against Sharma of not transferring negligent cops or those not performing duty would not be covered within the scope of definition of section 3, which deals with conspiring with organised crime syndicate and abetting offences, the lawyers argued.
The judges said that Sharma could challenge the applicability of sections under MCOCA after the filing of charge sheet.
Sharma prayed that MCOCA provisions applied on him should be declared illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution. He pleaded that they may be quashed and set aside.
These sections are 3(2), 2(1)(a)(b) and 24, which deal with indulging in conspiracy with organised crime syndicate, abetting the crime and public servants failing to discharge their duties respectively.
Sharma urged in the petition that Puri's appointment be set aside and the probe conducted by him in regard to his (Sharma's) alleged involvement be quashed. Sharma said Puri's appointment was a backdoor method to confer powers of DGP on him to conduct the probe, as he was a retired police officer. However, he did not press for this relief today.
He also urged the court to restrain SIT from taking his further custody in the case. the court would decide the matter on January 15.
Sharma said he had an unblemished service record throughout his career and the FIR in the Bund Garden case of Pune, in which fake stamp papers worth Rs 200 crore were seized, was filed by him during his tenure as the Pune police chief.
Sharma said he had set the law into motion by filing the FIR and it would be ridiculous to make him accused in the same case.
More reports from Maharashtra
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