The Supreme Court on Monday censured the Uttar Pradesh police for the lackadaisical way inquiry into a murder case involving BJP MLA Sushil Singh as an accused, was carried out.
A Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari termed the investigation a “sham”, “designed to conceal more than to investigate”.
It, therefore, constituted a special investigating team under IPS officer, Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj, IPS to probe the case.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the victim’s son, Amar Nath Chaubey, challenging the rejection of his plea by the Allahabad High Court for transfer of the case to CBI.
The deceased, Ram Bihar Chaubey was shot at in his village, Shrikanthpur in Varanasi in December 2015.
The police in its case diary noting had recorded that as per the police informer, Singh had paid a token of Rs. 5 lakhs to the assailants who shot at the petitioner’s father and that political rivalry existed between the deceased and Singh.
Later, closure report was filed in which it was stated that there was no concrete evidence against Singh for the offence of conspiracy.
The petitioner had alleged that the investigation was being tampered with by changing eight investigating officers during the probe. It was also submitted that the present Station House Officer at the police station Chaubeypur, Varanasi was “trying to eliminate and destroy all evidence against the said accused”.
It was submitted that Singh was associated with various high political offices in the State and that he had 24 criminal cases, including six murder cases, pending against him.
Since the affidavit filed by Director General of Police was not satisfactory, the Supreme Court had on October 26, 2020 called for the closure report of the case.
The Court in is judgment observed that the report “simply stated that there was no concrete evidence of conspiracy against BJP MLA Sushil Singh and that the informant had not placed any materials before the police direct or indirect with regard to the conspiracy.”
The “investigation and the closure report are extremely casual and perfunctory in nature,” the top court said.
“The investigation and closure report do not contain any material with regard to the nature of investigation against the other accused including respondent no.5 for conspiracy to arrive at the conclusion for insufficiency of evidence against them,” the order stated.
The Court further said that police has the primary duty to investigate on receiving report of the commission of a cognizable offence. This, the court underscored, is a statutory duty under the Code of Criminal Procedure apart from being a constitutional obligation to ensure that peace is maintained in the society and the rule of law is upheld and applied.
But the investigation in the present case appeared to be a sham intended to conceal more than to investigate, it concluded.
If the police do not perform its statutory duty in accordance with law, “the court cannot abdicate its duties on the precocious plea that investigation is the exclusive prerogative of the police,” the apex court added.
It, therefore, partly set aside the closure report with respect to those accused against whom closure report was filed including Singh.
The Court appointed a team headed by Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj to conduct further probe. Pankaj can choose his own team of officers and the probe should be completed within two months, the order said.
The matter will be taken up thereafter.
Senior Advocate VK Shukla, assisted by advocate Parul Shukla appeared for the Petitioner.