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Mysterious Death of NLU Jodhpur Student: SC Asks Rajasthan Police To Complete Investigation Within Two Months

Radhika Roy
8 July 2020 6:28 AM GMT
Mysterious Death of NLU Jodhpur Student: SC Asks Rajasthan Police To Complete Investigation Within Two Months
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The Supreme Court has directed the Rajasthan Police to complete the investigation into the August 2017 mysterious death of Vikrant Nagaich, a 3rd-year student at National Law University, Jodhpur, within a period of two months. 

A Bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and BR Gavai gave the direction in a plea filed on behalf of Nagaich's mother, which sought for a transfer of investigation from the State Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on account of the former allegedly making no effort to apprehend the offenders.

On 8th June, the Bench had issued notice in the matter while observing that they would first hear the Rajasthan Police in order to ascertain why no progress had been made in the investigation over a period of 3 years since Nagaich's death, before considering the plea for transfer of investigation.

The plea was filed on behalf of Naigaich's mother, Neetu Kumar Naigaich, by Advocate-on-Record Astha Sharma.

Nagaich had been found dead on 14th August, 2017, under unnatural circumstances, near the railway tracks opposite the University, after going out with his friends for dinner the night before. The plea contends that the University had been reluctant to inform the parents of the deceased, up until a group of friends of the deceased forced them to do so. Further, apparently statements were made to the media, which depicted that the deceased had committed suicide as he was suffering from depression.

Additionally, no efforts had been made by the Police to apprehend suspects. In 2019, the Petitioner-Mother had approached Rajasthan High Court, seeking for the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT). However, in February of this year, the petition was disposed of with the observation with the mere direction that the Investigating Officer may thoroughly investigate the matter.

The plea contends that the approach of the State Police towards the police was lax and relevant possible witnesses had not been examined on the basis of flimsy grounds. There had allegedly also been selective processing of the statements of witnesses, which implied prejudice and malafide intent in a bid to protect local villagers.

"The Petitioner is also aware that such conduct of the investigating agency may be on account of the fact that the deceased was not a domicile of the State, and was a student who had come from outside, and therefore, his death is not being investigated to apprehend the perpetrators, who could be locals from the said area".

Furthermore, the plea submits that the the Investigating Agency had further failed to investigate and analyse the phone records of the deceased. Neither Facebook or Google had been approached, nor had any data been retrieved from the deceased's phone to trace the movement in order to ascertain the events of the fateful night. PayTM transaction from the mobile of deceased had also not been done.

Therefore, the plea contends that the obvious lacunae in the investigation into the death of the deceased pinpoints at the investigating agency's reluctance to deviate from their initial conclusion that the deceased had committed suicide. On this basis, it has been prayed that the investigation is transferred to the CBI.

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