CHENNAI: The Madras High Court ordered the Director–General of Police to take stringent action against an investigation officer who delayed the process of furnishing a mobile phone before the Judicial Magistrate in the case of BJP state executive committee member Sowdha Mani.
Justice P Velumurugan passed the orders on dismissing a criminal revision petition filed by the woman BJP functionary.
“..the Investigating Officer should produce the materials seized/ recovered to the jurisdictional magistrate forthwith, after following due formalities. However, the IO of the present case did not produce the subject property immediately after the seizure, and produced the same with a delay of 6 days, which would be detrimental to the case of the prosecution,” the judge held.
Justice Velmurugan further observed that no explanation was also forthcoming on IO’s part for not sending the subject property to the jurisdictional magistrate soon after recovery.
“Take stringent action against the Investigating Officer of the case in the case for not producing the subject property to the jurisdictional magistrate, soon after recovery, besides giving instructions to all the Investigating Officers to produce the material objects to the court concerned immediately; and file a report to that effect,” the court ordered.
The case of the petitioner is that she was booked by the cyber crime police under Sections 153, 505 (1)(b), and 505(2) of IPC for making defamatory Twitter posts alleging that the government is razing temples. On July 9, the police seized her phone and furnished the same before the JM on July 15.
When the petitioner filed a plea for direction to cyber crime police to return her phone, Judicial Magistrate Alandur rejected it. Therefore, Sowdha approached the HC to set aside the JM’s order. However, the Additional Public Prosecutor S Sugendran submitted that the phone is the material evidence in the case and the same has been sent for forensic examination.
Recording the submissions, the judge dismissed the plea of Sowdha Mani. Nevertheless, Justice Velmurugan came down heavily on the IO for not furnishing the seized mobile before the JM immediately. The matter has been posted to October 16.