Taking a serious view of the “failure” on the part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Delhi Police to record the statement of two witnesses in the Nand Nagri custodial death case and other lapses, Delhi High Court on Thursday transferred the case to CBI.
“… it can be said that the investigation is far from fair and independent. Refraining from suggesting that the SIT should or should not have taken such steps… It is incumbent upon me to transfer the investigation to CBI to instill confidence in general public as serious allegations are levelled against police personnel,” said Justice Siddharth Mridul.
Two witnesses in the case over the death of Nand Nagri resident, Shahnawaz Chaudhary, 35, while being taken to the police station, had not been examined by the SIT. The Delhi Police had constituted the SIT headed by an ACP of the Crime Branch and monitored by the DCP, after a writ petition was filed by the deceased’s wife Rabia, alleging foul play and harassment by the police following the death of her husband on September 7.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who was representing Rabia, and counsel for Delhi Commission for Women Prabhsahai Kaur urged the court to transfer the case to the CBI. The DCW counsel also argued that the incident and the investigation indicated “prime facie involvement of the police” to “cover up” the incident.
Senior Advocate Kirti Uppal, appearing for the police, opposed the plea to transfer the case to the CBI, as the reports from the CFSL and AIIMS were awaited.
“I wish you had spent as much time in investigating the case as you are doing defending yourself in the court,” commented the bench. The court directed the CBI to register an FIR in the case and complete the investigation within six months.
The bench also directed the Delhi government to award compensation within one month to Rabia for her husband’s custodial death.