he Supreme Court Wednesday quashed the closure report filed by the Rajasthan police on the mysterious death of a law student from the National Law University, Jodhpur in 2017 and directed that a de novo probe be conducted within two months.
A three-judge bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee found the closure report a “clearly hasty action leaving much to be desired” regarding the nature of the investigation. The entire investigation and closure report was not bonafide, it added.
It also directed that no officer who was part of the investigating team leading to the closure report would be part of the team conducting the fresh investigation.
It ordered the appointment of a fresh team of investigators headed by a senior police officer of the State and consisting of “efficient personnel well conversant with the use of modern investigation technology also”.
The closure report accepted the mysterious death of the petitioner’s son as a homicidal death but concluded that there was no clue who the offenders were.
The Court was ruling on a plea by the mother of the deceased student seeking a transfer of the investigation to the CBI. The plea filed through Advocate-on-Record (AoR) Astha Sharma alleged that the Rajasthan police had been “lackadaisical and negligent” in their approach. It was alleged that “is a result of probable collusion to shield some high, mighty and influential person”.
The deceased student Vikrant Nagaich’s body was found in an open ground near railway tracks opposite the university in 2017.
Representing the mother of the deceased student, advocate Sunil Fernandes contended that the FIR was registered nearly ten months after the body was found, on 29.06.2018, after much persuasion by the petitioner and her husband.
The casualness and callousness of the police, Advocate Fernandes said, was reflected from the fact that neither was the crime scene sealed nor necessary investigations done with promptitude by proper examination of relevant witnesses, CCTV footage, digital footprints, mobile locations and WhatsApp chats during the relevant period of time on the day of occurrence.
Fernandes, thus, argued that it was difficult to accept that the service providers did not provide mobile dump datas of towers in the location of the incident or that they were conveniently found by the police to be in “dark zones”.
Opposing the plea, senior advocate Manish Singhvi on behalf of the Rajasthan police submitted that a large number of witnesses had been examined by the Special Investigation Team constituted pursuant to the order of the High Court.
There had been no deficiency in the investigation. All possibilities had been investigated and the necessary evidence collected and analysed. Despite the best efforts the offenders could not be traced or found, Singhvi said.
The Court also took note of the fact that the death of the student was initially sought to be passed off as an accidental collision with a train or suicide due to depression.
The court noted that even after the F.I.R. under Section 302, IPC was registered belatedly and reluctantly, only at the persistence of the petitioner and her husband, the investigations remained at a standstill till the filing of the counter affidavit before it as recently as 03.07.2020 with the respondents insisting that the death was accidental and that the nature of injuries could not be attributed a homicidal death.