A Delhi court has reserved its order on a CBI application that sought consent of nine JNU students to undergo a polygraph test in connection with the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad. The order has been reserved for November 21.
Praying to the court to summon them, the CBI, in its plea, said it is necessary to conduct polygraph test on the nine JNU students in the “interest of the investigation” since “certain allegations were levelled against them”.
Najeeb (27), a first-year MSc student at JNU, went missing a day after an alleged scuffle with ABVP members on October 14, 2016. The nine students in question are suspects in the case.
Replying on behalf of the nine students, defence counsel Vishwa Bhushan Arya raised objections and stated that the application filed by the CBI is premature and “not maintainable” at this stage since the agency has failed to “appreciate” guidelines put forward by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC).
He pointed to NHRC guidelines on administration of polygraph test, which state that it is unconstitutional unless taken voluntarily under “non-coercive circumstances”. “There is a difference between volunteering and being asked to volunteer,” Arya said. He submitted in court that summoning the students to record their consent or refusal is nothing but a coercive measure and in “no terms can be considered voluntarily”.
He added, “There is no provision under the CrPC which grants the magistrate to call upon any person to record his consent or refusal, more particularly when the matter of whether a Magistrate has power to order any person to give voice samples is sub judice…”
The CBI, meanwhile, said, “Najeeb’s mother has named nine people who had a scuffle with Najeeb… We had also questioned these nine people and other witnesses… it is necessary to conduct polygraph.”
Prank caller not involved: CBI
The CBI has told the court that the prank caller, Mohammad Shamim, who was chargesheeted for extortion in connection with the disappearance of Ahmad, is not involved in the case.
In January, 20-year-old Shamim was arrested for making fake ransom calls to Ahmad’s relative for “his safe return”. He has been in judicial custody ever since.
The matter came up when Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal asked the CBI on the ongoing investigation. The CBI public prosecutor said, “Delhi Police had registered a case and later arrested Shamim as he had made a ransom call. However, after the investigation, it was found that Shamim had no role to play in Najeeb’s disappearance… His bail application is pending in the HC.”