Justice R Subhash Reddy while admitting a writ petition by Kotha Karthik, a techie, has ordered the authorities to probe the numerous calls (said to be a little too many, of which 166 were made late during the nights) between January 1 and March 20, 2012 by superintendent of police Shyam Sundar in connection with a dowry harassment case under Section 498A filed by Yadlapalli Gopipriya against her husband Karthik. Karthik’s family wants the alleged clandestine relationship between the SP and Gopipriya to be brought out in the open. Details of the calls made, with telephone numbers and talk time have been submitted to the court.
In response, Gopipriya’s father has offered an explanation that it was he who made the calls from his son’s phone as the family received threatening calls; Gopipriya has denied allegations, made by her estranged husband, of a romantic affair between her and the SP.
Even if we do accept that the calls, which are supposed to be 582 in number, were made in connection with the dowry harassment case, what fails logic is the other revelation that 1,944 messages were exchanged between the two parties. The odd times of the calls also raises doubts about the motive of these calls.
While accepting the SP’s image of a hot-headed straightforward officer, if one were to even take the view that the plight of the victim moved him in his official capacity to lend succour in the form of uplifting her morale and giving her courage, it could have been done in a more acceptable manner. Police officers are not trained counsellors, so it would have served the purpose better if the kind SP had referred the matter to a trained counsellor rather than attempted it himself.
It is not unknown for police in their position of authority to exploit the vulnerabilities of those who seek their protection for personal favours. The hapless and hopeless victim is forced by circumstances to clutch at even chimeras to get justice.
The issue here is not whether the two are morally wrong or right, it is about the keeper of the law going to the extreme of favouring one person in such a way that the ends of justice become manipulated. It is the responsibility of law-enforcement authorities to be impartial, unbiased and transparent. With a finger of doubt pointing towards the SP, evidence collected by the police becomes suspect in the court of law. To that extent the victim becomes a loser.
On the part of the SP, he should know that this kind of unusual contact with a complainant would not go unnoticed and is also not the usual investigative practice adopted or permitted in such cases. The alleged relationship of the SP and Gopipriya, however, does not absolve the husband; if it is proved that he is guilty of the crime that he has been accused of. An internal investigation within the police department should clear the cloud of doubt around the case now and should be able to sift out the true facts so that the ends of justice are met. Also, it would serve the police department well, if, as part of their personnel training they are sensitised on dealing with such situations sagaciously.
The writer works for Postnoon.