The Delhi High Court has handed over to CBI the probe into the case of alleged murder of an inmate in judicial custody in Tihar Jail and questioned the Delhi Police for not carrying out proper investigation.
Justice Mukta Gupta, who was hearing a plea by the family member of the deceased, noted that issues raised relating to the case were not properly investigated by the police despite lodging an FIR.
"The prime issue which now concerns this Court besides the manner in which the death of the inmate has been caused, is, why no proper investigation could be carried out despite the fact that a PCR call was made from a phone number from the jail and the said phone number is duly recorded in the PCR call," the judge said and added that "this Court finds it fit to transfer the investigation of the case FIR in question to CBI."
The high court said status report will be filed by the concerned SP, CBI after an investigation into the FIR in question well before the next date of hearing on September 29.
The deceased inmate was in judicial custody since June 2019 and died in May 2021, it noted.
As per the family members, represented by senior advocate Ramesh Singh, the dead body allegedly had “deep cut wounds on his thighs and hands” and that a day before the incident, the deceased had told his sister over a phone call that “he would be murdered by the jail officers”.
The High Court was told that at the time of incident itself, a PCR call was received from jail, albeit not from the jail officers, that the deceased had been murdered.
It noted that the authorities in the status report said that four other inmates had beaten up the deceased with a cricket bat and at first the victim refused to go to the jail dispensary but later complained of trepidation and pain in the body and was subsequently taken to Safdarjung Hospital where he died.
Given the authorities stand that most of the old CCTVs installed in Tihar Jail had become non-functional, the high court noted that it was evident that no CCTV footage of the incident was available.
The high court also noted that “claim of the sister of the deceased was that she received a phone call from the deceased himself a day prior to the incident from the jail, informing her that he would be murdered, however, there is no investigation on the said point nor has the mobile of the sister been taken nor have the call records been analysed which would have revealed something nor has any investigation been carried out from the call records of the mobile number from which PCR call was made.”
While transferring the investigation of the case to CBI, the high court considered the stand of the jail authorities as well as that of the family members.
The jail authorities had said that there was no apparent injury on the deceased while the family sought an in-depth investigation into circumstances surrounding the death.