NAGPUR: The Maharashtra government and its home department came under fire from Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday for their failure to file a reply on rearresting alleged Naxal leader Maruti Kurwatkar on September 12. A division bench comprising justice Bhushan Gavai and justice Prasanna Varale orally passed strictures on respondents for rearresting Kurwatkar without following due procedure of law. The judges tersely observed that police need to be taught the importance of citizens’ liberty as mentioned in the Constitution of India.
They were warned that they should be ready for punishment in case of failure to come up with valid reasons for Kurwatkar’s rearrest. The judges sternly directed assistant public prosecutor Tehsin Mirza to file a reply in a week, while rejecting his appeal for granting two weeks for the same. The directives came while hearing a plea by Ganpat, father of Maruti Kurwatkar, through counsels Nihalsingh Rathod and Surendra Gadling. State home secretary, Nagpur Central Jail superintendent, commissioner of police in Nagpur, and Dhantoli police station inspector were made respondents. During last Tuesday’s hearing, the court issued showcause notices to respondents while allowing the petitioner to carry out amendments in the plea.
Petitioner’s counsels contended that the 35-year-old was picked up by police on September 12, immediately after he was released from Nagpur jail on bail following his acquittal in some cases. The so-called ‘senior Naxal leader’ had been behind bars from January 2012 for about three years and eight months after Chandrapur police first arrested him at Talodhi. The lawyers added that about 50-60 police were waiting in plain clothes outside the jail premises and whisked him away as soon as he was released. He was not even allowed to meet his lawyers and family members before he was rearrested. The counsels strongly argued that Kurwatkar’s arrest was in blatant violation of Supreme Court guidelines and human rights. The cops didn’t entertain complaints of Kurwatkar’s lawyers alleging kidnapping of their client by the police.