Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI): Shivank Singh, Special Judicial Magistrate (CBI), while accepting the closure report questioned the delayed investigation by the premier investigation agency of the country. While accepting closure report, the Court stated,
“It may be noted that the collective and cogent evidence/ material gathered by CBI is enough to settle the fact that the allegations of complainant against her father and 26 other accused could not be substantiated”.
The pertinent matter was filed under Sections 368, 342, 354, 376 (2) and 120B IPC, and was transferred to CBI vide the order of the Supreme Court. The petitioner in the writ had alleged that the ordeal began in 2010, when the father and her family coerced her to join the flesh trade/ prostitution, which she reiterated in her statement under Section 164 CrPC. Later, that the accused persons forcibly dragged her out of the Court and took her to various places within Meerut, then to Ludhiana, Punjab, where the entire period the petitioner was assaulted and raped by her father and his relatives (accomplices). And, even alleged that, during the period of abduction, Sub-Inspector of Police, Deputy-Inspector-General of Police, and Circle Officer of Police molested her.
The CBI had filed its closure report under Section 173 CrPC as the allegations could not be substantiated. A protest petition against such closure was filed, which was even accepted, but after further investigation, again a closure report was filed.
The Court after considering the closure report by CBI and the facts corroborated by the various substantial statements and ‘Psychological Profiling Reports’ and Behavorial Analysis Interview of the accused persons, victim and the other names involved, opined that,
“witnesses out of total 95 witnesses examined during first investigation has corroborated the allegations” and “During further examination, CBI has examined 8 witnesses and none of the witnesses have supported the allegations of complainant”.
Strikingly, the Court while accepting the closure report of CBI raised doubts and criticised further the manner in which the delayed investigation was conducted. The Court sternly stated,
“However, before parting, it may be noted that the Ld. Predecessor of this court had ordered for further investigation in this case 20/02/2018. IO has submitted the report of further investigation after more than 3 years in 2021. IO has examined 8 witnesses and has submitted 4 documents along with the report of further investigation. It took more than 3 years to the IO to gather such evidence. Also, out of total 8 witnesses Page No. 3 Misc. Case No. 05/21 Rashmi Behl vs. CBI examined by IO in such further investigation, IO has copy-pasted the statements of witnesses Hina Behl and Hitesh Behl. Many paragraphs of their statements are exactly similar. It is a matter of concern. Also, such delayed investigation is not expected from the premier investigation agency of this country, CBI. A copy of this order be sent to worthy HOB, SC-I, New Delhi to look out in this matter from his own end”.
[Rashmi Behl v. CBI, RC 2 (S)/2015/CBI/SC-I, decided on 05-10-2021]
Agatha Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.