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HC summons CBI director over slow progress in Gudia case probe

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

Upset over the slow progress in Gudia gangrape and murder case investigation in eight months, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday summoned Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director on 18 April, asking him to file personal affidavit indicating fresh status.

“With regard to investigation of the main crime, to our utter dismay, we find the instant progress report to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps the investigating agency is clueless with regard to the persons involved in the heinous crime,” held a division bench of High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma.

The bench rejected CBI counsel’s plea that the Director’s presence was not required.

The Gudia case pertains to gangrape and murder of a 16 year old girl in Kotkhai area of Shimla district, which shook the state in July, 2017. The state government had sought court intervention to handover the investigation of case to CBI after public pressure.

However, during the pendency of the petition, one of the six accused, arrested by state Police in the case, was killed in the Kotkhai lock-up on 19 July, 2017, which flared up the public sentiments more. While the Court ordered CBI probe into the rape and murder case on 19 July, it also asked CBI to probe the custodial death.

Nine arrests, including that of an Inspector General of Police heading the state Investigation team, have so far been made into custodial death case. But the CBI has not been able to crack the rape and murder.

The court held that CBI has repeatedly been filing their status reports in sealed covers. “On their request, we kept them as such. In fact, we have been indulgent in allowing the applications filed by CBI, extending time for completing the investigation. On one occasion while expressing our displeasure and anguish, we had orally observed that we would not hesitate from asking the Director, CBI to remain present in court.”

The court put on record that on the asking of the officers of CBI, since beginning, the state has fully cooperated.

“It has provided accommodation, vehicles and all facilities as sought for from time to time. Despite all this, we find that no fruitful result has yielded. We may not be misunderstood to mean that officers have not done anything but then there is nothing concrete or material in identifying the accused or leading towards them, which stands disclosed to the Court,” the court said.

“Under these circumstances, the court said Director, CBI shall personally remain present in Court on the next date of hearing, whereafter we shall consider the request, seeking extension of time,” it added.

The court in its order on Wednesday even questioned the CBI for delay in investigation into a crime that occurred in the state.

“Are we to understand that officers of CBI are not competent enough to unearth the crime, of such a nature, within past eight months” it