Thirty-two years after a case of alleged corruption was lodged and 17 years after the charge sheet was filed against an IPS officer, retired for long, the Gujarat High Court this week granted relief to AM Chauhan while allowing his petition for quashing the charge sheet. The case was pending in the High Court since 2003. It has defaulted thrice before it was finally disposed of by the division bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice A S Supehia.
Chauhan was the supervising officer in a 1984 murder case: a Muslim man was found murdered at a farmland in Sidhpur. The victim’s family accused four persons of the murder, but the investigating officer found only one person to be the suspect. The family of the deceased complained against Chauhan and the investigating officer (IO) for demanding a bribe, accusing them of a shoddy investigation. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) lodged a complaint against Chauhan and the investigating officer in the same year.
Chauhan said that following an inquiry, the ACB concluded that the allegations of demanding a bribe were not true. The ACB investigation into the faulty investigation, though, continued. In the meanwhile, Chauhan was transferred and the local police arrested all four suspects. “In 1999, I was served the charge sheet in the case out of the blue. I had lost the memory of the case by the time I was served the charge sheet. In the meanwhile, the sessions case which tried the murder case had acquitted all the accused. The Gujarat High Court also confirmed the judgment of the lower court. There was no observation about the investigation being faulty,” Chauhan, who appeared in the court proceedings as a party in person, said.
Chauhan practises law in the High Court. His daughter, Nipuna Torawane, is also an IPS officer. He had fought the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 as a Janta Dal candidate and lost. Following the issuance of the charge sheet, Chauhan challenged it in the Central Administrative Tribunal which rejected his appeal, seeking to quash the charge sheet on the ground of delay and merit. In 2003, he moved the High Court. Since then, the petition has been pending. Chauhan, who retired in 2003, is also facing a case of disproportionate assets case. “The court has quashed the charge sheet, but I am yet to get the copy of the order. I had to suffer a lot due to this case. My post-retirement benefits are held back. There are other old cases against me,” he said.