Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria, JJ., on 28-09-2020 during the proceedings of the Vadodara Custodial Death matter once again made sure that no stone was left unturned to go to the root of the matter stating that,

            “Let no stone be left unturned and every possible attempt be made to go to the root of the matter. There must not be any scope of either laxity or soft paddling at any stage of investigation which is not only impermissible, but would also prove to be deleterious for the system.”

The petitioner had filed the petition aggrieved by the fact that his father was missing since 10-12-2019. He had further stated that he had repeatedly approached the respondent-police authorities and also gave written applications, but no heed was paid to his requests and not a single reply was received with regard to the whereabouts of the corpus, till date. He was said to have a retail business of clothes and by obtaining a parking pass from the Western Railway cycle stand, he was doing his business. It was alleged that on 09-12-2019, his father had gone to Vadodara Railway Station to get his bicycle and from there he was taken to Fatehganj Police Station for interrogation and since then, they had not heard of him. The Court on 19-06-2020 had ordered that the corpus be PRODUCED before the court, on the returnable date; however, the police could not trace the missing person. Consequently, a Fir was filed for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 201, 203, 204 and 34 of the Penal Code, 1860 against some police officers. The Court had ordered that the investigation be handed over to the CID Crime so that there was no loss of vital evidence on 05-08-2020.

The Court on 28-09-2020 in the presence of a senior officer from State CID Mr Girish Pandya assessed the road map of investigation provided by the officer where he also informed that once the Court of JMFC permits the Lie Detection Test, as and when deemed appropriate during the course of the investigation, further scientific tests also shall be requested for. The Court further said that periodical reporting shall also be needed till the whereabouts of the corpus was found with substantive and scientific proof. The specifically reminded the investigation officer that,

            “truth is the motto and object of every investigation and in the instant case, all the accused are police personnel who are supposed to be well versed with all possible tactics to overreach the process of law, extraordinary care would be expected on his part.”

The matter is scheduled to be heard on 15-10-2020 where the case diary shall be shared with the Court along with the progress in the investigation, 24 hours advance.[Sheikh Salim Shekhbabu v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Criminal Application No. 2595 of 2020, order dated 28-09-2020]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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