Himachal High court dismisses former DGP Sanjay Kundu and SP kangra’s review petition, order SIT
Shimla, Jan 9
The Himachal Pradesh High court has dismissed the review petition of former Director general of Police Sanjay Kundu as well as of Superintendent of Police Kangra Shalini Agnihotri. This was pronounced in an open court today adding that effective protection to complainant Nishant Sharma may continue and a SIT to be formed for investigation of this matter.
Noteworthy, that after this order the State government notification over transferring DGP Kundu to Principal Secretory Ayush, will again become effective. The notification had got stayed after the Supreme court had directed State High court to hear the recall application of Kundu and decide it within two weeks.
The division bench of Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justic Jyotsna Rawal Dua pronounced this verdict on the recall application filed by both police personal against the December 25 interim order.
” For all the aforesaid reasons, we reject the plea of Shri Sanjay Kundu and Ms.Shalini Agnihotri to recall our order dt.26.12.2023 or to transfer the investigation to the CBI,” stated the court in a 33 paged order.
Adding,” The Principal Secretary (Home), State of HP and the respondent No.2 in the said Cr.WP shall ensure effective protection to Shri Nishant Sharma and family until further orders. Stating,” The State Government shall consider within one week
forming of a Special Investigation Team consisting of IG level officers to coordinate the investigation in all the FIRs mentioned here and also to advise on providing adequate and effective security to Nishant Sharma and family. List Cr.WP. on 28.2.2024.
Earlier during hearing on January 3, in his submission, counsel for DGP Sanjay Kundu emphasized that his client was not heard by the court before the order against him, raising concerns about his 35 years of reputation in the state police force. On the day, the Division Bench heard arguments throughout the day, including submissions from senior counsel Sanjay Jain, representing DGP Sanjay Kundu, and Sr. advocate Sharwan Dogra, representing SP Kangra. The counsels for the state, Advocate General Anup Rattan, and the complainant, along with amicus curiae Neeraj Gupta, and advocate Nishant Kumar Sharma, presented their arguments sequentially, leading the Bench to defer other matters listed for the day to the next dates.
Stating that complaints leveled wild allegations against him, DGP Kundu’s counsel had argued that his client acted out of compassion to settle a property dispute, denying any malice or ill will. The counsel asserted that DGP Kundu had not restrained the SPs from providing protection to the complainants and had no involvement with individuals X and Y mentioned in the complaint.
On the other hand, Advocate Anup Rattan, presenting the state’s argument, opposed the recall applications, prioritizing the protection of individuals and the reputation of its officers. He contested the notion that DGP and SP Kangra did not obey the High Court’s order, citing the status reports filed by SP Shimla and Kangra, which demonstrated their best efforts. Rattan had also expressed the State’s opposition to transferring the matter to the CBI, emphasizing that the court’s suo-moto cognizance should focus on providing protection to individuals’ lives rather than delving into different aspects of property disputes.
Noteworthy that on January 2, the Supreme court had heard the Special Leave petition filed by former Director General of Himachal Pradesh police Sanjay Kundu who challenged the HP High Court interim directive to shift him from the post of State police chief. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India had directed the High court to consider the recall application of Kundu and decided it within two weeks. “Till the recall application is disposed of, the directions for the transfer of the petitioner out of the post of Director general of Police, Himachal Pradesh shall remain stay, had directed the highest court. “The high court may take a view after considering all the dimensions of the matter,” had concluded the bench while disposing the application.
This litigation started on November 11, 2023, when the High court took Suo moto notice of an October 28 email complaint filed by a Palampur businessman Nishant Kumar Sharma, alleging a threat to his life from influential individuals. In the complaint he had also accused the State DGP for the alleged criminal intimidation.
After hearing on December 26, 2023, a Division bench of Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua directed the home secretary to shift former DGP Sanjay Kundu and Superintendent of Police Kangra Shalini Agnihotri to ensure a fair probe into a businessman’s complaint about threat to life. Later in pursuance on January 2, Kundu was transferred to the post of Principal Secretary (Ayush), to the Government of Himachal Pradesh.
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