Exactly a year after JNU student Najeeb Ahmed went missing from the campus following a scuffle with some other students, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had taken over the probe into the case from the city police, remains clueless.
The high court had first gone after the Delhi Police to solve the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb and since it was not satisfied with the progress made by the city police in the case, it transferred it to the central probe agency on May 16 this year.
Najeeb (27), a student of M.Sc Biotechnology, went missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15, 2016. His family members are still running from pillar to post to trace him.
Najeeb had an altercation with several students, allegedly affiliated to the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), according to his friends and family.
After over a month had passed since Najeeb went missing, his mother, Fatima Nafees, moved the Delhi High Court, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.
The high court had immediately directed the Delhi Police to “explore all angles” and “cut across political barriers” to trace the young man, saying no one could just vanish from the heart of the national capital.
However, as the police were clueless about Najeeb’s whereabouts even after two months since he went missing, it had to face the ire of the court, which asked it to scan the entire JNU campus, including hostels, classrooms and rooftops, with the help of sniffer dogs.
However, the police failed to sniff out any lead even after pressing 600 personnel and several sniffer dogs into service.
This prompted the high court to suggest other methods such as lie detector tests of the nine students suspected to be behind Najeeb’s disappearance as they had allegedly beaten him up before he went missing.
Though the police sent notices to the nine students, asking them to appear for a polygraph (lie detector) test, they ignored the same and subsequently, moved the trial court, challenging the step taken by the investigating agency.
Even as the nine students were opposing the lie detector test, Najeeb’s family alleged in the court that they were being harassed by the Delhi Police, which was conducting pre-dawn searches at their house in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh.
Dissatisfied with the lack of progress in the investigation, the family later demanded that the probe be handed over to some other agency.
In March this year, even the high court admitted that it was “foxed” by the lack of information on the missing student’s whereabouts and demanded an answer from the police “one way or the other” on Najeeb’s fate, saying that as far as the probe was concerned, the only thing happening was paperwork.
While the high court was monitoring the investigation, a magisterial court, on March 30, rejected the nine suspected students’ plea against the police notice asking them to appear for a polygraph test.
A few days later, the decision of the magisterial court was stayed by a sessions court, which subsequently quashed it.
Continuing with its probe, the police filed a chargesheet against a man, who was arrested for allegedly making a ransom call to Najeeb’s relatives, demanding Rs 20 lakh for his release.
However, his family kept urging the high court to transfer the probe to some other agency and finally on May 16, it was handed over to the CBI.
Two months later, on July 17, the probe agency sought more time from the court to investigate the case.
Nearly a month later, when the CBI failed to file a fresh progress report in the case, the high court rebuked it, saying the probe was not transferred to the agency “for fun”.
On September 6, the court again directed the CBI to take steps to trace Najeeb. On the same day, the agency filed a status report on the investigation in a sealed envelope.
The CBI counsel informed the court that the agency had examined 26 people, including JNU officials, staff, Najeeb’s friends, colleagues and those who had issues with him, during its investigation.
The agency also told the court that the matter was widely publicised in 12 cities and that several mortuaries were also being monitored.
Apart from that, last one year’s railway records of passengers of the same name and age as that of the missing student had been called for, it told the high court, which is slated to hear the matter tomorrow (October 16).