The Supreme Court has pulled up the Madhya Pradesh government for failing to arrest Govind Singh, an accused in the two-year-old murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chourasia, Live Law reported on Saturday. Singh is the husband of Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Rambai Prajapati.
“The rule of law must be preserved,” held the bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah, as it reproached the state government for not taking action against Singh, despite the fact that a case was registered against him in March 2019, according to the Hindustan Times. An arrest warrant was issued against him around two months ago.
The bench was hearing a plea by Devendra Chourasia’s son, Somesh Chourasia. In July 2019, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had directed authorities to complete the investigation into the Congress leader’s death within three months, but not later than 90 days. In case Singh is found guilty of the crime, the court ordered authorities to immediately take him into custody.
It was also observed that in the meantime, Singh shall neither threaten nor try to influence the witnesses and the complainant in the case.
In the two years since the order was passed, Singh was not produced before the court even once. After the arrest warrant was issued against him in February this year, the trial court judge in Damoh district alleged he was being intimidated by the district’s superintendent of police and other officials of the force. He had complained to the district judge.
During the hearing on Friday, advocate Varun Thakur, appearing for Devendra Chourasia’s son, told the Supreme Court that the authorities in Madhya Pradesh were putting pressure on the trial court judge because of Singh’s political clout, the fact that he was the husband of a BSP MLA.
The advocate also informed the court that Singh was convicted for murder in two cases while facing similar charges in two other cases, but the Madhya Pradesh High Court still let him out on bail.
The Supreme Court highly disapproved the state government’s handling of the case. “The ASJ [Additional Sessions Judge] is being threatened by the SP for issuing the arrest warrant?” the court said. “Is there any rule of law in the state?”
The bench then ordered the Madhya Pradesh director general of police to “immediately ensure the arrest” of Singh. “If you cannot make the arrest, admit that you have failed to conduct the administration as per the Constitution”, Justice Shah said. “This is jungle-raj,” added Justice Chandrachud.