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delhi high court 2

De Novo Investigation to be ordered in only rare and exceptional cases : Delhi High Court

Power to order reinvestigation or transfer of investigation needs to be exercised judiciously. The High Court bench consisting of J. Yogesh Khanna, in the matter of CD Pharma India Private Limited v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors. [W.P. (CRL) 999/2020 & Crl. M.A. No. 8526/2020], decided upon when ordering a reinvestigation was necessary.

The writ petition filed is on the account of subversion of entire process of law by the Investigating officer and other officers to shield an accused due to the undue influence of the lawyer of the accused. During the proceedings in Switzerland against the accused for money laundering, it is submitted that the lawyer, Mr. Bagianti asserted that during his visit to India, he met police officials who were incharge of the investigation and was also provided direct access to the entire case file. Mr. Bagianti categorically stated that he directly examined the case file which included the names of witnesses, witness statements and other incriminating evidence against the accused. The learned counsel for petitioner argued that this was completely illegal and strictly prohibited under Section 172 of the Cr.P.C. and the investigation was hence compromised. It was pleaded that the court ordered transfer of investigation from Delhi Police to CBI/ Crime Branch as a deep rooted nexus was apparent between the accused and the State machinery. It was further argued that the main accused was never summoned despite there being an FIR against him.

The learned counsel for the respondent argued that the case of the petitioner is based on the fact that Mr. Bagianti got access to the case diary and had prior knowledge of the closure of this case, though on merits there was no actual challenge before the court. The counsel further argued that the investigation was complete way before the lawyer had the access as stated by the petitioner and hence, the investigation itself was not compromised.

The HC stated that “The power to order reinvestigation or transfer of investigation needs to be exercised judiciously and not at the mere asking. It can be ordered only if the conscious of the Court is shaken to the standard of investigation”. Relying on K. V. Rajendra v. Superintendent of Police, Chennai & Ors. [(2013) 12 SCC 480], where it was held that “where the investigation is complete & charge-sheet filed, ordinarily superior courts should not reopen the investigation and it be left open to the court to proceed with the matter in accordance with law”, the HC said the power of de-novo investigation needed to be exercised in rare and exceptional cases in order to do justice, where the investigation lacked credibility. However, the HC ordered that it would be appropriate if a senior officer of EOW of the level if Special Commissioner, not earlier associated with the investigation, looked into the case hereon, and hence, without ordering re-investigation, disposed off the petition.  

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