The Delhi High Court on Tuesday transferred to CBI the investigation into alleged killing of an undertrial prisoner by jail officers inside the Tihar Jail, after observing that an in depth investigation into the matter is required to be conducted.
Justice Mukta Gupta took note of the fact that there was no investigation made into the claim made by deceased's sister that he had made a phone call to her a day prior to his death expressing apprehension that he would be killed.
"Considering the fact that as per status report filed by the Superintendent Jail, there was no apparent injury on the deceased, however, the case of the petitioner is that there were deep injury marks on the deceased and an indepth investigation is required to be conducted to find out the circumstances under which the deceased made a phone call to his sister expressing his apprehension of death and his subsequent death in the judicial custody, this Court finds it fit to transfer the investigation of the case FIR in question to CBI," the Court ordered.
The petition was moved by mother of the deceased seeking CBI investigation and also preservation of CCTV footages of the relevant time of death.
The deceased was in judicial custody since June 13, 2019 lodged in the Tihar Jail. He was declared dead on 14th May 2021 after he was taken to Safdarjung Hospital. An FIR was therefore registered under Section 302 and 34 of IPC.
As per the report submitted on behalf of Jail Superintendent, it was stated that four undertrial Prisoners were beating the deceased with a cricket bat, as a result of which one of the inmates and deceased sustained injuries. The deceased was thereafter taken to the jail dispensary and was referred to Safdarjung Hospital for treatment wherein he was declared as dead.
It was the case of the petitioner that by looking at the photos and videos of the deceased body, it could be seen that deep cut wounds on his thighs and hands could not have been caused by bat injuries and only could've inflicted from some sharp object.
On the aspect of CCTV footages, it was submitted on behalf of Director General of Prions that old CCTVs installed inside Tihar Jail had become non-functional and thus, a mega plan of installation of the CCTVs is presently underway and that they had been installed at most of the places.
It was also submitted that out of 6967 CCTVs to be installed, more than half of the CCTVs installed were functional and rest would be made functional by 15th August 2021.
"It is thus evident that no CCTV footage of the incident is available. However, 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 Court observed.
While directing transfer of investigation to CBI, the Court sought a status report to be filed before the next date of hearing.
The matter will now be heard on September 29.
Title: MALIKA v. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI & ORS.