The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered a CBI investigation into the disappearance of Rahul Sachan, a key witness in three rape cases against self-styled “godman” Asaram and his son Narayan Sai.
Sachan has been missing since November 25 last year after a police constable deputed in his security reportedly dropped him at Kaiserbagh bus station in Lucknow.
The divisional bench of Justices Vijay Laxmi and Amreshwar Pratap Sahi ordered the CBI probe while deciding the petition filed by advocate Bennet Castelino, who is a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa.
A native of Kanpur, Sachan had survived a knife attack in February last year outside a Jodhpur court where he was summoned as prosecution witness. He has been named witness in two cases filed against Asaram in Jodhpur and Ahmedabad, and in another case against Narayan Sai in Surat.
Sachan had been living on rent in Lucknow’s Balaganj locality since October last year. He was provided security by Lucknow police on court’s direction.
According to police, constable Vijay Bahadur, who was deputed for security of Sachan, went on a week-long leave on November 21 last year and another constable Amit Kumar Singh had replaced him. In his statement to police, Amit said that Sachan had asked to drop him at Kaiserbagh Bus Station on November 25 and assured him that he would return in a day, but did not reveal his destination.
Amit claimed that the next day he tried to contact Sachan, but his mobile phone was switched off, following which he informed his in-charge Afzal Hasan Mehndi at the Police Lines in Lucknow.
After he returned from leave, Vijay Bahadur contacted Mehndi, who told him that Sachan had gone somewhere and would return anytime. Vijay Bahadur kept visiting Sachan’s rented house, but did not find him and later he filed an FIR at Thakurganj police station on December 20 about Sachan’s “kidnapping”.
During investigation, police claimed to have obtained call records of Sachan and traced his last location in Hardoi district on November 25. They also met Sachan’s parents in Kanpur and a friend in Delhi, but failed to find any clue about his whereabouts.
The HC order stated: “The nature of the crime, the mysterious circumstances in which Dr. Rahul K Sachan has gone missing and the slipshod manner of investigation therefore compel us not to believe the hope expressed for some better investigation by the State which has come too late in the day as indicated above. We, therefore, decline the request of the learned Additional Advocate General to get the investigation carried out by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Consequently, we direct the CBI to take over the investigation of Case Crime No.1071 of 2015 under Section 364 IPC, P.S. Thakurganj, District Lucknow forthwith.”
The court also said it expected that the CBI would complete the investigation and file a report in six months.