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Stating there was “nothing to show that the incident has any national or international ramifications”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday dismissed a petition by the family of Junaid Khan for a CBI probe into the killing of the teenager, allegedly by a mob which had hurled communal slurs, on board a Mathura-bound train earlier this year.
Justice Rajan Gupta, in his order, said the claim by Junaid’s family that there had been a deliberate attempt to subvert or derail the investigation “lacks substance”.
“The manner of investigation, perusal of 173(2) report and evidence referred to therein leaves no room for doubt that the agency (police) has not been remiss in any manner. Grievance of the complainant regarding non-inclusion of additional accused or omission of certain offences cannot be a ground for transfer of investigation to CBI, that too after proceedings have made some headway,” Justice Gupta said.
Fifteen-year-old Junaid, his brother and two cousins had been attacked in June, allegedly by a mob which also hurled communal slurs at them. The teenager was stabbed to death during the attack. In October, his father Jalaluddin filed a petition, saying police had carried out a “seemingly casual and shoddy investigation” in the case and the probe had been “subverted in a calculated manner” to help the accused.
Observing that IPC section 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) was included in the FIR in view of allegations of communal overtones and religious feelings made by the complainant, Justice Gupta said, “the issue was considered by the trial court as well, at the time of framing charge and detailed order was passed. Still if complainant has some grouse, remedy is provided in the Code. This court would refrain from making any observation on merits lest it should prejudice the case of either party”.
During the hearing, senior advocate R S Cheema, representing the family, had told the court that IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity on the basis of religion etc.) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) had not been invoked against the accused and all charges framed against them were bailable. “It is primarily a case of conspiracy. Is it not a case where killing is communal? Why do you (state) choose softer charges?” Cheema had said.
Declining comment on the police claim of the family seeking two crore rupees and three acres of land to reach a compromise in the matter, the High Court said it had “no doubt that trial court would have enough expertise to swift the grain from the chaff and arrive at a fair conclusion,” adding, “it is evident that allegations/counter-allegations have been levelled in the affidavits filed by the complainant’s side and the State. However, this court does not intend to express any opinion or delve deeper into the issue… the trial of the case is at a crucial stage and important prosecution witnesses have to depose, some of whom may be injured and/or eyewitnesses”.
Stating that the complainant has not been able to show there were serious flaws in the investigation “which would lead to the conclusion that same is shoddy or tainted,” the bench said: “Investigating agency appears to have employed forensic and electronic means for cracking the crime. It is for this reason that all accused present at the spot at the time of occurrence are stated to have been identified despite the fact that no names were mentioned in the FIR. Some of them are alleged to be merely present, others scuffled, abused and incited.”
“It needs to be noticed that after registration of FIR on 23.06.2017, investigating agency was able to conclude the investigation within two months and submitted its final report on 22.08.2017. A perusal of final report shows that investigating agency collected sufficient material to support its case to prosecute the accused,” the order stated, adding that the trial court was also not delaying the matter in any manner.