The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Kerala Police to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to be headed by a deputy inspector general rank officer, to probe allegations of wife-swapping among Indian Navy officers.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur declined a plea filed by the estranged wife of an accused Naval officer for a a CBI probe into the charges and asked the state police to complete the probe, preferably within three months.
“It is well-settled that the extraordinary power of the constitutional courts in directing CBI to conduct investigation in a case must be exercised rarely in exceptional circumstances, especially, when there is lack of confidence in the investigating agency, or in the national interest and for doing complete justice in the matter,” the bench said.
“The facts and circumstances in which the offence is alleged to have been committed can be better investigated by the state police,” said the bench, after taking into account an argument by the Kerala Police that 70 witnesses had already been examined in the matter.
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The bench was hearing a petition by an estranged wife of a Naval officer seeking a CBI probe into her FIR alleging that besides her husband, four other Navy officers and the spouse of one of them indulged in wife-swapping.
In her petition, she sought transfer of petitions from Kerala to Delhi High Court, claiming the atmosphere there was not conducive for the case to progress and reach its judicious end. She also contended that the accused naval officers were influential persons.
But the court rejected her plea saying that mere apprehension may not be sufficient to transfer the case. It directed Kerala Legal Services Authority to appoint a senior advocate to pursue her case.
The woman, who had married the Navy officer on March 9, 2012, said that their relationship was not very cordial and almost a year later, she was driven out and her husband withheld her identity card, laptop, mobile phone and original marriage certificate.
Later, the woman lodged a complaint against her husband, her parents-in-law and sister-in-law alleging that they had subjected her to physical and mental cruelty.
After that, she also levelled the charge of sexual abuse against five naval officers, including her husband, and wife of one of the naval officers, alleging that they indulged in wife-swapping.