The Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued an order on 4th January, 2023 in which it stated that the mere delay/negligence in filing for police custody by state police does not quantify to satisfy the exceptional circumstance under which the High Court can order to transfer an investigation to CBI. This was held in the case of Veedhi Nookaratnam vs The Union Of India (W.P.No.24362 of 2022). This was case was presided by Honorable Mr. Justice R Raghunandan Rao.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The petitioners’ son had passed away in suspicious circumstances who filed a complaint with police who registered the complaint under sec 172 of CrPC and later changed the offence punishable under sections 302 and 201 read with sec 34 of IPC and Section 3(1)(r)(s) and Section 3 (2)(v) of SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The accused was kept under judicial custody since his arrest and the Police failed to file for the police custody before the Magistrate within stipulated time. During the investigation it was found in the CCTV footage there was another person involved during the altercation, which was mentioned that if any reliable evidence will be found in future then the additional charge will be charged against the other accused. The petitioners contended that since the accused is a member of Legislative Council, the Police are not conducting proper investigation and are trying to exonerate the other persons involved. They point out said deliberate mistakes committed during investigation such as intentionally filing the complaint under sec 172 of CrPC when the wounds on the deceased body are clearly not from accident and also they delayed in filing for Police custody. Also, they did not mention other accused in the charge sheet. So they are seeking before this Court to transfer the case to independent investigation agency CBI.
The Court held that the events set out in charge sheet mirrored in the version of the petitioner in writ petition. All the information obtained by the petitioner was provided by the Police which show the transparency of the investigation. Also it was mentioned in the charge sheet the investigation is still probing for the role of the other persons and will be charge them with additional charge if any reliable evidence will found in future. The only fact that arise any doubt is the fact why the Police delayed in filing of complaint for Police custody of sole accused and the Police did not produced any satisfactory explanation for the same before the Court. However, a revision appears to be filed against the dismissal of application for police remand by Magistrate. The delay by itself would not be sufficient to hold exceptional circumstances before this Court unless additional information is there to satisfy exceptional circumstances for this Court to transfer the case to CBI.
However the prime requirement of any investigation is to invoke credibility and confidence of proper investigation before the stake holders. To ensure that confidence be retained, the writ petition will be disposed with following directions. The forensic reports of the CCTV footage should be obtained within 15 days from the date of the order and upon identification of the said person; a thorough investigation should be conducted into his involvement in the crime.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ATTILI LEELA NAGA JANAKI RAJITHA.