High Court Halts Arrest of Constable Accused of Bribery on WhatsApp

In a significant development, the Allahabad High Court has expressed serious concerns over the summary dismissal of a police constable accused of corruption without a formal investigation. The court has directed the Police Commissioner of Noida to submit a personal affidavit explaining the circumstances under which Constable Ankit Baliyan was dismissed on the very day a video purportedly showing him demanding a bribe went viral, without issuing a show cause notice.

The High Court’s order came during the hearing of a bail application filed by Constable Ankit Baliyan, accused of soliciting a bribe from one Wasim Kabaddi. According to reports, Baliyan allegedly demanded Rs. 1 lakh in a WhatsApp video that surfaced on social media on September 7, 2023. Another video implicated him asking for an additional Rs. 25,000 monthly and Rs. 1 lakh separately. Based on these videos, Senior Inspector Chandraprakash Sharma of the Beta II police station filed a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Baliyan, leading to his immediate dismissal by the Police Commissioner.

The court has also summoned Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramakrishna Tiwari, who is investigating the case, and Senior Inspector Chandraprakash Sharma, who registered the case against Baliyan, to be present at the next hearing. Additionally, the court has temporarily halted the arrest of Constable Baliyan until further orders.

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The legal counsel for the petitioner argued that the case against Baliyan was registered without any investigation or evidence, and questioned the authenticity and source of the WhatsApp video, as WhatsApp calls cannot be recorded. The court questioned the haste in dismissing the constable without issuing a show cause notice, especially when the alleged complainant, Wasim Kabaddi, submitted a petition on October 25, 2023, claiming that no such incident occurred and he does not know Ankit Baliyan.

The High Court has asked the Police Commissioner of Noida to clarify why such swift action was taken without investigation or a show cause notice, and to provide details on the number of police personnel in Noida who have been dismissed without investigation or notice under corruption charges in the last three months.

The next hearing is scheduled for March 12.

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