Nitish protests to Gowda

Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has lodged a protest with his Karnataka counterpart D V Sadanand Gowda over the manner of arrest of a terror suspect from Bihar saying it was a `violation of the rule of law`. Karnataka police had arrested Md Kafil Akhtar from Darbhanga district of Bihar on terror charges without informing the district police.

"What has been done by the police officers of Karnataka (in the arrest of Akhtar) is an example of the violation of the rule of law", he said in a strongly-worded protest letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister on Saturday. "There should be no apprehension in the mind of any visiting police officer of any state about professional integrity and commitment of senior police officials available in Darbhanga", he said in a strongly worded letter to Gowda.

Nitish Kumar said the Karnataka police team had ample time and opportunity to organise their operation by taking the local officials into confidence. The `inappropriate` behaviour of the Karnataka police officers could have led to serious issues of breach of law and order and endangered the safety and security of the visiting police officers themselves.

Referring to Gowda`s letter to him three days ago defending the manner of the arrest in view of sensitivity of the case lodged against Akhtar in Bangalore under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, Kumar in his letter said Section 43-B(2) of the Act made it mandatory for every person arrested to be forwarded without unnecessary delay to the officer in-charge of the nearest police station, which in this case was Keoti police station in Bihar.

Kumar in his letter also said, "The police officers of Karnataka police had clearly indicated in their requisition for transit remand of the arrestee to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranchi in Jharkhand that the place of arrest of the terror suspect is village Barh Samaila under Keoti Police station of Bihar`s Darbhanga district".

He tore into Gowda`s defence of the Karnataka police for not informing the local police due to paucity of time and apprehension that Akhtar would escape and said the team visited Barh Samaila village in Darbhanga on May 5 and arrested him at 1:30 p m the next day. The Karnataka police produced the man in a Ranchi court nearly 26 hours later, which indicated that there was enough time for them to take the district police into confidence before the arrest and comply with the legal processes after the arrest.

"This reflects both scant respect for law and also mistrust in the police officers of Bihar by the Karnataka police team", the chief minister said. Kumar also slammed the Karnataka police team for taking the arrestee to Ranchi on the pretext of catching a flight to Bangalore when Patna was the nearest airport, about 130 km from Darbhanga.

"It is surprising as to why anyone should choose to go to Ranchi airport at a distance of about 425 kms from Darbhanga and not to nearby Patna airport that operates daily flight to Bangalore … It is strange as to how the Karnataka police officers have interpreted the nearest police station or the magistrate which is the legal requirement to mean magistrate at the nearest airport", he added.

Kumar in his letter wondered why the Karnataka police team decided to produce the accused in a court in Jharkhand which has no jurisdiction over the place of arrest in Bihar. He urged Gowda to instruct Karnataka police to ensure that its failure to follow the laid down legal procedure (in arresting an accused from another state) may attract suitable legal and administrative consequences.

Karnataka police had arrested Akhtar in a terror case related to the blast outside Chinnaswami stadium in Banglore in 2010 in which several persons were injured. Kumar had strongly protested the manner of the arrest of the terror and had directed Bihar director general of police to lodge a formal protest with his Karnataka counterpart.