Police officers who illegally make money should not be protected but jailed, the Supreme Court observed on Monday, reported NDTV. However, the court granted interim protection from arrest to a suspended Indian Police Service officer in an extortion case.
In July, Chhattisgarh’s Anti Corruption Bureau and Economic Offences Wing had raided premises linked to suspended IPS officer Gurjinder Pal Singh. Officials claimed that they found assets worth around Rs 10 crore during the raids. Singh allegedly acquired these assets through benami or proxy transactions.
They also claimed to have discovered documents showing Singh’s alleged involvement in a conspiracy against the government and public representatives.
Singh has previously served as the additional director general of both the agencies.
The officer was also booked on charges of sedition in July. Singh had accused the ruling Congress government in Chhattisgarh of targeting him because he was believed to have close ties with the previous Bharatiya Janata Party dispensation.
The court has granted Singh protection from arrest two more times before.
During Monday’s hearing, Chief Justice NV Ramana said that the petitioner cannot seek protection in every case.
“You started extracting money because you are close with the government,” Ramana said. “This is what happens if you’re close with the government and do these things. You have to pay back one day.”
The chief justice asked: “Why should we grant protection to such officers? This is a new trend in the country.”
To this, Singh’s lawyer appealed to the court that officers like his client need protection. The court replied: “No, they’ve to go to jail.”
However, after hearing the arguments of both sides, the Supreme Court granted Singh protection and issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government.
The next hearing will take place on October 1.
In the last hearing on August 26, the court had observed that there was a “disturbing trend” of police officers siding with the political party in power.
“Then when a new party comes into power, the government initiates action against those officials,” Ramana had said. “This is a new trend which needs to be stopped.”