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The Bombay High Court today directed the police to explain what led to the escape of a convict in the "fake encounter" case of alleged gangster Ramnarayan Gupta. The court also rapped the police asking why no steps had been taken to trace the convict so far. Hearing a petition, a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai asked Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 10), Vinayak Deshmukh, to probe what led to the escape of Shailandra Pandey. "It appears that police officials are hand in glove with Pandey," the judges observed, while ordering a probe by the DCP. According to the petition, Pandey was serving a life sentence when he was granted parole for a month on November 2, 2013. Pandey, however, got the parole extended by a few days on the pretext of an "urgent need" to get admitted to a hospital for eye treatment.
However, he escaped from the hospital. The Andheri police had registered an FIR on February 21, 2014, after the jail authorities informed it that Pandey had jumped the parole, but failed to do anything else. In July 2013, a Mumbai court had convicted 21 people, including 13 police officials for killing Ramnarayan alias Lakhan Bhaiya in a fake encounter in 2006. The high court today directed the police to explain how the convict had escaped from the hospital. The bench also asked why police constables were not posted at the Criticare hospital in suburban Andheri from where he went missing. "You should have posted one or more police constables there as he was a murder convict, and intermittently you would have checked the hospital. But why no steps have been taken so far to trace him?" the judges sought to know. The public prosecutor said it was very necessary to provide treatment to Pandey, who had a severe eye trouble or else he would have lost vision. The bench, however, said that enough precautions should have been taken to ensure that the man was placed under tight security at the hospital. It also asked the DCP to speak to the doctors, who had attended to Pandey in the hospital and take affidavits from them. The judges said the DCP should identify the police officers who were responsible for this lapse, saying this was a sensitive matter.
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