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Supreme Court seeks status report from CBI on custodial death in Delhi

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to file a status report on the progress of its probe into the alleged custodial death of a man who had tried to intervene to settle a quarrel between a couple here last year.

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 20, 2016 9:58 PM
The apex court said if a man has died in the police van, it means that he has died in police custody which needs to be investigated. (PTI) The apex court said if a man has died in the police van, it means that he has died in police custody which needs to be investigated. (PTI)

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to file a status report on the progress of its probe into the alleged custodial death of a man who had tried to intervene to settle a quarrel between a couple here last year.

The incident had taken place on September 7 last year at Nand Nagri in Northeast Delhi when the victim, Shahnawaz Chaudhary, tried to intervene in a roadside fight between a couple and the police.

Chaudhary was picked up and taken to the police station. Later, he was rushed to a hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit said the CBI should filed an affidavit and status report with regard to the progress made in the investigation so far.

The apex court said if a man has died in the police van, it means that he has died in police custody which needs to be investigated.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said it was not a case of custodial death and the victim was drunk and taken in a van to the police station during which he had abused the cops.

Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, said the Centre has played a fraud on the court and prayed for a stay of CBI probe by appearing on behalf of NCT Delhi.

He said the Centre wants to be present everywhere, while the Delhi High Court has ruled that Delhi government was free to appoint its own prosecutors.

“There is dispute between Centre and Delhi and SLP has already been filed against the Delhi High Court order. It is the subject matter of law and order and it has to be seen whether it comes under the Centre or not,” the bench said.

ASG Maninder Singh said they have never opposed CBI probe after which compensation could be awarded to the next of the kin of the man.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner and the deceased’s wife Rabia alias Mamta, alleged that probe has not being done and neither has compensation been awarded.

“Delhi High Court has ordered CBI probe into the matter and asked Delhi government to sit with Lieutenant Governor for deciding the quantum of compensation”, Gonsalves said.

To this, the bench asked Gonsalves whether any judicial inquiry was conducted on the issue.

The senior lawyer said there was a judicial inquiry which has found that four police personnel sat on the chest of the deceased.

ASG opposed the contention and said the judicial inquiry has not given any finding and the inquiry by SDM does not have legal sanctity.

During an earlier hearing, the apex court had asked the Delhi High Court to finalise the matter with regard to the interpretation of Article 239AA (dealing with Delhi) by July.

The High Court had on August 4 ruled that Delhi was a Union Territory and LG its administrative head. Delhi government had filed six SLPs in the apex court against the order.

The High Court had on December December 3 ordered CBI probe into the custodial death saying it was “necessary to instill confidence among the general public as serious allegations are levelled against police personnel”.

The court had directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Delhi Police to hand over the case to CBI after which the agency should take up the investigation afresh and conclude the same within six weeks.

It had directed CBI to register a regular case in the matter on the basis of FIR already registered and said it expects all police authorities to cooperate with the agency in conducting the investigation.

It asked the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi government to take a decision on the application of 28-year-old widow of victim Shahnawaz Chaudhary to award appropriate compensation to her and her six-month-old baby boy within a month.

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