SC orders fresh probe into law student's death
New Delhi, September 16, 2020
After nearly three years of inconclusive investigation into the mysterious death of a third-year student of National Law University, Jodhpur, the Supreme Court has ordered a fresh probe to be completed within two months.
Neetu Kumar Nagaich, mother of victim Vikrant Nagaich, had moved the court through advocate Sunil Fernandes to seek transfer of the case from Rajasthan Police to the CBI, as there has been no progress in the investigation so far.
In July, the apex court had said that the probe should be completed within two months and a final report filed before it.
On Wednesday, a bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, setting aside the closure report, said: "No officer who was part of the investigating team leading to the closure report shall be part of the team conducting de novo investigation. Much time has passed and there is undoubtedly an urgency in the matter now. We, therefore, direct that such fresh investigation must be concluded within a maximum period of two months from today."
Criticising the Rajasthan police, the bench said its closure report is a "clear hasty action", and only after its July order did the investigation conclude within two months.
"Suddenly, a very lengthy investigation closure report has been filed before us, taking a stand that though the death was homicidal there was no clue," noted the bench.
The bench noted that the High Court, despite noticing the long pendency of the investigation, took a misguided approach that the petitioner had not expressed suspicion against anyone or alleged bias by the investigating officer, to pass an open-ended order to investigate the case and file a report.
"In this manner, the investigation remained inconclusive for nearly three long years with the investigating agency sanguine about passing it off as an accidental death without coming to a firm conclusion...," the bench said.
The victim went to a restaurant, nearly 300 meters from the university campus, with his friends in the evening of August 13, 2017. His body was found next morning near a railway track. The victim's mother argued that the police is yet to retrieve his mobile phone data to find out his whereabouts on the night of the incident.
The petitioner insisted that there is reasonable suspicion in the death of her son, and that she is not satisfied with the probe so far. The petitioner said she has been left dismayed and devastated after the death of her only child.