The Bombay High Court on Thursday criticised the Maharashtra Police for revealing information about “sensitive cases” to the media. The court said “such over-enthusiasm could be fatal”, PTI reported.
A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice BP Colabawalla was hearing pleas filed by family members of murdered rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. The petitions asked the court to supervise the Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into Dabholkar’s murder and the Crime Investigation Department probe into Pansare’s killing.
The bench said that investigation agencies leak important information to the media “every day”. Dharmadhikari referred to the media briefing by Maharashtra Additional Director General of Police Parambir Singh on August 31 where he defended the arrests of some activists on August 28. On Monday, the court had asked the Maharashtra Police why it had held a press conference while the matter was still in court.
“There is so much hue and cry about this media briefing and disclosures made,” the judge pointed out. “This over-enthusiasm could be fatal. In such sensitive cases where the investigation is in crucial stages, it is not advisable for police to rush to the media. This shows total lack of maturity.” The court said disclosing information to media could alert the accused.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, to tell senior police officials that the agency was unhappy with the press briefing. “Ask those police officials, who took the media briefing, to go to the trial court and see how difficult it is to prove a case against an accused person,” Dharmadhikari said.
The Crime Investigation Department’s counsel Ashok Mundargi told the court that the agency has not held any press conference. “Our investigation is on,” said Mundargi. “We are now waiting to interrogate two persons arrested by the CBI in the Dabholkar case.”
The court advised the agency to continue its inquiry without waiting to question the accused in CBI custody. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on October 10, and asked both the CBI and the Crime Investigation Department to submit progress reports on that date.