CBI to take over probe of rape videos on WhatsApp case as Supreme Court removes legal hurdles

CBI to take over probe of rape videos on WhatsApp case as Supreme Court removes legal hurdles

The Supreme Court today removed the legal hurdles the CBI could have faced while investigating the rape videos on WhatsApp case. As per law, there cannot be two FIRs in a single incident and as the UP Police had already registered a FIR in the case, problems could have arisen for CBI later on while investigating the matter.

The Apex Court accepted the plea made by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh who appeared for CBI and submitted, "There cannot be two FIRs in one incident. We need a court order on this. The Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had to make such a submission as UP Police had already recorded a FIR in relation to the case where rape videos were uploaded on both YouTube and WhatsApp.

Accepting the plea, the Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said, “We direct that investigation in the FIR lodged in 2014 at Sitapur (UP) is transferred to the CBI...We also make it clear that the CBI can conduct further investigation and file fresh charge sheets in the case.”

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh also submitted the status report of the investigation in a sealed cover to the Apex Court. He also submitted that the photographs of the culprits have been shared with DGPs of the concerned states that the same would be published, as per an earlier order passed by the Apex Court. In addition, a reward of Rs. 1 lac has also been declared for a person who gives information in relation to the accused. CBI also submitted to the Court that it is ensuring that the identity of the victims is protected.

The ASG also submitted that the issue is being discussed at higher levels and that the Ministry of Home Affairs will too file its reply before the Supreme Court, a point that was noted by the Court.

The Supreme Court however declined to accept the plea of the NGO who had bought the videos to the Court’s notice. The NGO had sought that the details of the investigation done by CBI be shared with it. Declining any such prayer, the Court said, "Let them (CBI) do their job. You (lawyer) should not bother about the fact that who is arrested and from where."

Earlier, the NGO, Prajwala had submitted a pen drive to the Chief Justice, which contained two videos, one 4.5 mintues long while the other being of 8.5 minutes. The Court had then taken the cognizance of the matter and had forwarded the pen drive for investigation.