Smelling a rat in the mysterious death of a Panchkula-based businessman who, according to his widow, was murdered owing to business rivalry, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered transfer of investigation of the case from the Railway Police, Patiala, to the Haryana Crime Branch.
Chander Mohan Thakur, 46, a contractor, was found dead on the Dappar Lalru railway tracks at Dera Bassi on May 25, 2013. Alleging that he was murdered by his business associates, his wife Anita Thakur, a resident of Sector 9 in Panchkula, had petitioned the High Court.
To demonstrate that no investigation was conducted by the Railway Police, Patiala, advocate Vivek K Thakur, counsel for the petitioner, had submitted that two months after her husband’s body was recovered, the widow had collected his shoe from the spot.
Mincing no words, Justice Rekha Mittal of the High Court has slammed the Railway Police investigating officers for conducting the investigation in a “very casual and perfunctory manner instead of discharging their duty with devotion, diligence and seriousness to detect the truth”.
The court has held that it has “no hesitation” in concluding that “no proper investigation has been conducted in the matter by the officials of railway police”. Elaborating, Justice Mittal has observed that “there is nothing on record to suggest that the railway track where the dead body was found was the route ordinarily being followed by the deceased”.
The detailed order reads that “it is not the plea of the respondents that any part of body of the deceased or a cloth worn by him got entangled in the railway track resulting in accident. The investigating agency has not examined the case from the angle if the deceased had committed suicide”.
Advocate Thakur had alleged that Mohan’s “murder” was passed off as an accident by the Railway Police. To corroborate his claim, Thakur had contended that it was only after the intervention of the Inspector General of Police that the reluctant Railway Police had registered a case on charges of murder only after a delay of one month.
Moreover, despite clear allegations of the petitioner that his husband had received a phone call from one of his business associates, the Railway Police did not investigate this issue.
Taking serious note of this lapse, the court observed that “the investigating agency did not care to examine those call details to know as to the persons who had contact with the deceased and the time of last call and time at which the driver of the train noticed the alleged accident, to further find out if the deceased had been freely talking to others as well as his location after leaving his house”.
The petitioner had demanded an impartial probe by an independent agency like CBI into the case. Put on notice, the Railway Police introduced a new turn by submitting that Mohan appears to have committed suicide.
Showing little conviction, the High Court has directed the Haryana Crime Branch to investigate the matter and submit a report “expeditiously”.