Monday, January 21, 2008

Pataudi case: Get serious, activists tell Haryana Govt
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 17
The seriousness, or the lack of it, with which the Haryana Government treated the anticipatory bail applications of the two high-profile accused in the black buck poaching case was evident at today's hearing of the applications.

While the two accused-applicant — former Indian cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and industrialist Shashi Singh —had fielded legal eagles like Mr R.S. Cheema and Mr Dinesh Mathur to argue their case, Haryana was represented by a sole Assistant Advocate-General.

This remark of a lawyer not connected with the case immediately after the pronouncement of the judgement says it all: "God helped them".

Though all praise must go to the young Assistant AG for keeping his nerves in a jam-packed courtroom, the government seemed to have given up even before the hearing began. "Couldn't they (Haryana Government) have deputed at least an Additional AG, if not the AG himself, for the case?" was the question on everybody's mind, including almost two dozen reporters covering the hearing. And, not one to hold himself, animal rights activist Naresh Kumar Kadyan, who was instrumental in exposing police laxity in booking the accused, demanded the transfer of Jhajjar Superintendent of Police Hanif Qureshi.

"The government and the police were going all-out to allow Mr Pataudi and Mr Shashi Singh remain out of the lock-up. In such a high-profile case, shouldn't they have fielded some senior lawyer? Even now, I am not sure what turn the investigation will take," he told The Tribune.

Another person sore with the government attitude was Mr Darshan Singh Bishnoi, spokesperson of All India Bishnoi Mahasabha. The mahasabha was among the parties opposing the bail applications in the court.

"We are happy with the High Court order. But, it is for the government and the police to ensure that the investigations are not derailed. The public will be keeping a close watch on their actions," he said.

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