September 17, 2020 8:06:32 am
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a fresh probe by a new Rajasthan Police team into the 2017 death of Vikrant Nagaich, a student at National Law University, Jodhpur.
The judgement came on a plea by the 21-year-old student’s mother Neetu Kumar Nagaich, who sought a CBI probe into the incident. In a plea filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, she said there is reasonable suspicion about the circumstances behind her son’s death and that she is not satisfied with the probe.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee set aside the closure report filed by the previous probe team and directed that the new investigation be completed in two months. The investigation team, it said, should be “headed by a senior police officer of the State” and have “efficient personnel well conversant with use of modern investigation technology also”.
The court underlined that “no officer who was part of the investigating team leading to the closure report shall be part of the team conducting de novo investigation”.
Noting that “much time has passed and there is undoubtedly an urgency in the matter now”, the Bench said that the probe “must be concluded within a maximum period of two months from today and the police report be filed before the court concerned…”
Ordering the fresh probe, the court noted that the incident occurred in the intervening night of August 13 and 14, 2017. The inquest proceedings under CrPC Section 174 were registered on August 14, 2017 but remained inconclusive.
The death “was initially sought to be passed off as accidental by collision with a train or suicidal due to depression”, the court said, adding that the murder FIR was “registered very much belatedly on 29.06.2018” after the parents repeatedly approached the higher authorities.
“Even thereafter the investigation remained at a standstill till the filing of the counter affidavit before this Court as recent as 03.07.2020 with the respondents insisting that the death was accidental…,” the court said.
The “investigation remained inconclusive for nearly three long years”, the bench said, adding that it is only when the Supreme Court on July 8 asked the police to complete probe in two months “that suddenly a very lengthy investigation closure report has been filed… taking a stand that though the death was homicidal there was no clue”.
“The closure report is therefore, to our mind, a clear hasty action leaving much to be desired regarding the nature of investigation, because if a detailed investigation had already been done as is sought to be now suggested, there is no reason why a final report could not have been filed by the investigating agency in the normal course of events and needed an order to do so from this Court. The entire investigation and the closure report therefore lack bonafide,” the bench added.
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