Nearly two years after JNU student Najeeb Ahmed disappeared from the JNU campus, the CBI on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it has decided to file closure report in the case of the missing student. Also Read - WhatsApp Policy Row: It's Voluntary, Use Some Other App if Not Acceptable, Says Delhi High Court
The counsel, appearing for Ahmed’s mother, opposed CBI’s submission contending that it was a “political case” and that the “CBI had succumbed to the pressure of its masters”. Also Read - Delhi High Court Allows Opening of Spas in National Capital with Appropriate Safe Guards
The CBI’s submission came during hearing on a 2016 plea by Ahmed’s mother seeking directions to the police, which was earlier probing the case, to trace her son who has been missing since October of that year. Also Read - Delhi HC Makes Exception, Allows 28-Week Pregnant Woman to Terminate Her Foetus
The bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel reserved its verdict on the plea.
Ahmed had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15, 2016, following a scuffle with some other students, allegedly affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.
During the hearing, the CBI’s counsel said they have not yet filed the closure report before the court concerned and wanted to first bring it to the knowledge of the high court.
The CBI submitted that it has probed all the angles left by the Delhi Police and that its investigation in the case was complete.
“We have taken a decision to file a report under section 169 (release of accused when evidence is deficient) of the CrPC…. We have completed the investigation. We did not want to file closure report before the trial court without bringing it to the knowledge of this court. The court may dispose of the petition today after which we will file the closure report before the magistrate and the petitioner may file a protest petition there, if they wish to,” CBI’s counsel Nikhil Goel said.
He added that as on today, the CBI does not think there was even an offence committed with the missing person.
Opposing the submission, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Ahmed’s mother Fatima Nafees, said neither the CBI has done its best in the case nor has it probed the matter in a fair manner.
“It is difficult to expect a fair investigation by the CBI in this case as it was doing it to favour the accused and as the suspects are ABVP activists. Out apprehension was that the Central government will protect the accused and out suspicion has come true. It is a political case.
“The CBI has succumbed to the pressure of its masters. It has failed to conduct the investigation in a fair and true manner. Why CBI was not doing custodial interrogation of the accused,” he argued.
When he contended that during the entire period of investigation, the CBI did not share any documents or details with them though they are the victim party, the bench said at this stage the probe agency has to be extra cautious before sharing anything.
On the contention of Gonsalves that the CBI has not conducted custodial interrogation of any of the suspects, the agency counsel said it was the discretion of the investigating agency whether to arrest a person.
The CBI counsel claimed it was presumptuous to say that the case was high profile and that it was a case of abduction and murder.
By way of a status report, the agency also filed a compilation of the statements of the eyewitnesses and wardens.
The petitioner also sought setting up of an SIT comprising independent experts to enquire into the matter.
The bench asked the counsel to give a written note on the appointment of SIT by courts in other cases and what would be the legal status of such a body.
“Unless we are satisfied that such an SIT has a legal status, we cannot simply order on SIT,” it said.
The high court had on May 16 last year handed over to the CBI the investigation into the disappearance of Ahmed. His mother had moved the high court on November 25, 2016, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.
However, as the Delhi Police remained clueless about his whereabouts even seven months after he went missing, the probe was handed over to the CBI on May 16 last year.
Nafees’s counsel had earlier said the nine suspected students were named in a complaint by 18 students who were eyewitnesses to the assault on Ahmed, yet they were not interrogated.
(With PTI inputs)