Taking a serious view of a probe in a rape case being transferred from Agra to Firozabad without any concrete reason, and on the request of the accused’s brother, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government about the basis on which the case was transferred.
The court, which will hear the case on February 19, also called for the status report of the probe. Though to protect the identity of the victim, the court has not formally directed her to be impleaded as a party to the case, the Agra chief judicial magistrate has been asked to send a notice, informing her about the high court proceedings.
A division bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Suneet Kumar passed the said order on a criminal writ-PIL (Cr-PIL) filed by Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, president of the Agra District Bar Association, through his counsel Sudhir Mehrotra.
On December 6, 2014, an MBA student in her early 20s had accused a lawyer, Kamla Kant, of rape and criminal intimidation. An FIR was registered against Kant, a resident of Agra, at the Highway police station in Mathura. His membership of the Bar Association was terminated following the allegations. Kant, who was also made a respondent in the Cr-PIL, is absconding.
The victim’s statement was recorded before the Magistrate under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code on December 12, 2014. In the meantime, Kant’s brother wrote to the chief minister seeking the transfer of the probe from Agra to Firozabad. This letter was received by OSD (Judicial) in the chief ministerial secretariat and then referred to the DGP.
The court found that, as per records — between December 18 and 22, last year — the DGP ordered that the probe be transferred to DIG (Agra Range) on the grounds “of expectations of the state government”. On December 24, 2014, SSP (Agra) ordered the transfer of probe to Firozabad.
The Cr-PIL stated that the probe was transferred after the victim’s statement was recorded before the magistrate on the request of the accused’s brother and without any valid reason. “Our main prayer is that such being the circumstances, investigation may possibly be transferred to some other agency. Or the orders, through which the probe was transferred from Agra to Firozabad, be quashed,” said Mehrotra.
The court said that prima facie, upon reading the communication of DGP to DIG (Agra Range), it appears that the investigation was transferred in accordance with what the DGP described as an “expectation of the state government” and without any application of mind. “The communication records that this action was taken in pursuance of the letter addressed by the brother of the accused to the chief minister. Prima facie, the matter requires a serious scrutiny,” it added.