Nagpur: Close on the heels of instant incident in which a rape accused escaped from Ajni police custody, Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court was informed by city police that as many as 645 criminals from Nagpur city and district facing criminal trials have gone absconding and could not be traced during a special drive conducted during last four weeks.
The High Court was further informed that there were 3,349 cases pending since the accused were untraceable. However, the City Police could locate and serve summons to 1,817 persons facing criminal trials including bailable warrant in 789cases, non-bailable warrant in 713 cases, and notice in 78 cases. So far, 228 accused could not be located while in 1,532 cases action has been initiated.
In Nagpur district, 417 accused could not be traced and special cells have been constituted to catch the accused dodging the trial and evading warrants. The High Court had initiated a suo-motu PIL based on a consolidated statement prepared by High Court registry about criminal cases pending beyond 10 years in which the offences are punishable with imprisonment for more than three years and the accused persons are absconding. As a result of this, the criminal cases are pending and not proceeding further. Even the non-bailable warrants could not be served since the accused resided in another State, accused not found on given address, no special cell of police formed to execute the non-bailable warrants.
The High Court found the number quite alarming in Akola, Amravati, Chandrapur, Nagpur and Yavatmal districts. If the accused persons are not arrested within a reasonable time, it poses a serious threat to internal peace and security of the society, the High Court had observed while asking top cops to take urgent steps to search the absconding accused and produce them before the court to face the pending trial.
Accordingly, the sub-division wise cells were constituted by the Superintendents of Police at Yavatmal, Akola and Amravati. In Nagpur, Commissioner of Police directed all Senior Police Inspectors of Nagpur city to constitute the cell comprising of one officer and two subordinate employees to serve non-bailable warrants within their respective local areas in the cases where the accused were reported to be absconding.
Additional Public Prosecutor Anand Deshpande represented the authorities.