Forty-five days after JNU student Najeeb Ahmad went missing, the Delhi High Court Monday asked Delhi Police and the university to “cut across all political barriers” and look for him.
A bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel also pulled up police for “lapses” in the status report, which did not mention the alleged scuffle between Najeeb and some ABVP activists on the campus before he went missing.
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The report was submitted in response to a habeas corpus plea filed by Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees, who has sought court orders for “proper investigation” to trace him.
The status report, which has been kept sealed by the court, mentioned that Najeeb had been taken to Safdarjung Hospital on October 14 night, but did not say why. “Who prepared the status report?” asked the court. “Let the officer explain the reasons for this lapse.” The bench also noted that the police had not interrogated the eight students allegedly involved in the incident.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing on behalf of the police, told the bench that the students had been questioned by the SIT on November 11 — the same day an order was issued for transfer of investigation to the Crime Branch.
But senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Najeeb’s mother, said the police had not interrogated the “prime suspects”.
“You should not need us to instruct you on what to do,” said the bench, suggesting that the police could question students and even place “plainclothes persons” in JNU to “shadow a couple of people” known to have been involved in the incident.
The court also asked police to look into information that Najeeb had been dropped off by an auto at Jamia University. Meanwhile, Delhi Police raised to Rs 10 lakh the reward for anyone providing information on Najeeb.