ISLAMABAD, Jan 7: The Supreme Court has given the Sindh police three days to arrest Shahrukh Jatoi, the main suspect in the Shahzeb Khan murder case. In case of failure, it warned, the inspector general, being head of the provincial police force, would have to face legal consequences.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which had taken notice of the murder of 20-year-old Shahzeb in Karachi on Dec 25, expressed its dissatisfaction on Monday over the performance of police officials. The court said it had already given sufficient time, but police investigation showed no progress. Negligence by police had led to the escape of the suspect, it said.

The chief justice noted that police had made attempts to spoil the case by lodging a new FIR.

About the stance of Inspector General of Sindh Police Fayyaz Leghari that Shahrukh had escaped to the UAE, the bench observed that Additional Inspector General Rafique Hussain had earlier insisted that he had not left the country.

The court observed that the suspect should have been dealt strictly in accordance with the law, but a space had been provided to him.

The court directed its office to hand over to the police chief a letter by Sikandar Jatoi, father of Shahrukh, expressing concern over police treatment.

Inspector General Fayyaz Leghari informed the bench that police had arrested three suspects, including Sikandar Jatoi. He said Shahrukh had fled to the UAE.

The court admonished the IG for suspending only a sub-inspector for his deliberate failure to arrest the suspect.

The chief justice told the IG that it would be better and meritorious if he (IG) suspended himself and DIG Shahid Hayat over the negligence which had led to the escape of the suspect.

The chief justice observed that it had become a test case for police, especially in view of the Karachi situation. “Space has been provided to the accused. It is an acme of highhandedness of police,” he regretted.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed, a member of the bench, said no verification was carried out of documents stating that Shahrukh had left the country.

The Advocate General of Sindh, Abdul Fatah Malik, informed the court that cement factories owned by Sikandar Jatoi had been sealed.

The chief justice said credit for highlighting the case must go to the media. He reminded the IG that unless he proved his authority, nobody would abide by his orders.

The court directed the IG to send the DIG to the UAE to arrest Shahrukh and bring him back.

The IG sought 15 days to do so, but the chief justice said the court had already given police sufficient time. Arrest the suspect by Thursday (Jan 10) and produce him before the court, the court said in its order.

“You should decide about your future as you will be held responsible for the whole episode,” the chief justice told Mr Leghari. The hearing was adjourned to Thursday.—Agencies