The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered an NIA probe into the case of the Hindu girl converting to Islam in Kerala, with the agency saying that it did not appear to be an isolated case and required further probe.
A bench of Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also said the probe will be monitored by retired apex court judge, Justice R V Raveendran.
During the hearing, the CJI also referred to the Blue Whale Challenge. “We hear there is a game called Blue Whale Challenge. There are things that can lead people to do anything”.
Appearing for the NIA Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said it does not appear to be an isolated case”. To this the CJI said ” the High Court order also mentions so”.
The court had last week asked the Kerala police to hand over the case files to NIA for a preliminary examination. The court was hearing a petition filed by a Kerala native Shafin Jahan who had approached the SC against an order if the state HC annulling his marriage to Hadiya, a Hindu girl converted to Islam. The girl’s father KM Ashokan has alleged that it was a case of fraudulent conversion.
Singh added that the agency had noticed similar patterns in the two cases. “We have arrived at some observations…The lady who takes custody gets them married…Some of the entities also appeared to be common… the girls leave their home because of differences with parents and somebody volunteers to give them shelter…this requires investigation”, he said.
The ASG also said “the two outfits involved in this..perhaps they were having links with SIMI”.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal who appeared for the petitioner Shafin Jahan opposed the demand for NIA probe saying the crime branch investigation was still not complete.
This did not go down well with the CJI who said, “This is an incident pertaining to Kerala. There are some very serious remarks made by the High Court. Today you say crime branch probe is not over…Why not?”
Sibal, however kept up his opposition to the demand for an NIA probe and raised questions on the agency’s credibility.
“I don’t want to comment on an agency which has taken so many u-turns,” the senior counsel said.
The CJI pointed out, “Everybody wants a fair probe. Whether A agency or B agency probes. Someone will have a problem.” The top court also asked Sibal if he was open to an NIA probe monitored by an SC judge.
Sibal opposed it, saying he had seen many cases how the investigating agencies present evidence. The CJI replied, if that would have happened, then we wouldn’t have had a role.