The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, dismissed religious leader Daati Maharaj’s review petition challenging the order transferring the inquiry into the rape case against him to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The order was delivered by a Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao.
A 25-year-old woman had alleged that Daati Maharaj raped her at his ashrams in Delhi and Rajasthan, and had filed a complaint at the Fatehpur Beri police station against him, his three brothers and a woman. The FIR was registered against him on June 11, and chargesheet was filed by the crime branch, three months later on October 1.
The court had then, on October 3, directed that further investigation into the case will be undertaken by the CBI, and had directed the CBI to submit a status report within three weeks. In doing so, the court had noted that the police’s handling of the case “cast a shadow on the investigation”.
CBI was further granted three months’ time to carry out further investigation into the matter. However, a review petition was soon filed, seeking recall of this order.
The review petition had now submitted that the original petitioner had earlier appeared before the court demanding the same reliefs as counsel for Delhi Citizens Forum for Civil Rights in a similar petition. It had asserted that since this hadn’t been disclosed by her, the petition shouldn’t be entertained due to suppression of material facts.
It had further contended that once investigation into the matter has been completed and chargesheet has been filed, de novo inquiry by registering a fresh FIR by the CBI is not permissible.
The court, however, rejected these contentions, concluding that it finds no error apparent on the face of the record to review the order on these counts, while clarifying that it had only directed for “further investigation” by the CBI.
“Our intention was not at all to order a de novo inquiry into the matter. We had directed for supply of the entire charge sheet to the CBI and they were required to go through the charge sheet, conduct further investigation as is permissible under law and then submit a report to us. The report submitted by them, interim in nature, only indicates that they have initiated the process and, therefore, we caution them to ensure that the investigation to be conducted by them is not a de novo inquiry but it is only a further investigation or inquiry into the matter and submitting a report to us. In the meanwhile, based on the charge sheet already filed, the trial Court shall proceed with the matter in accordance with law,” the court directed.
The matter was ordered to be listed on November 19 for issuing further directions.