CBI today faced flak from the Delhi High Court for its "complete lack of interest" and not showing any result in its probe into the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, five months after being handed over the investigation.
Najeeb (27), a student of M.Sc Biotechnology, had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15 last year following a scuffle with some other students, allegedly affiliated to the Sangh Parivar student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.
A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar said during arguments, it was "very unhappy" with CBI after contradictions appeared in what was orally submitted in the court and what it has indicated in its status report.
The contradictions appeared on the issue of analysis of the calls and messages of the suspect students in the case.
When the court was told that the status report was prepared by an Inspector in CBI, the bench said as per its May 16 order, transferring probe to the agency, an officer of rank not less than DIG has to supervise the investigation.
"What sort of supervision is this? If this supervision by the DIG, then what would happen if there is no supervision? Does the DIG read what the Inspector has said in the report? He probably does not get time to read reports there (in office). Let him come here and read it then" the court said.
The bench further said that "there is nothing on the status report (by CBI). There was more in the Delhi Police reports. We are saying there is complete lack of interest (by CBI). There is no result either way. No result even on paper."
The bench said the CBI was "inviting these observations" by its own conduct and gave it time till November 14 to file a report stating what it has found after analysing the call data records of the nine students suspected of being behind Najeeb's disappearance.
The scathing remarks by the bench came after CBI in its report said the calls and messages of the suspects were "being analysed", while in its oral submission it claimed that the call data records have already been analysed.
"Then why have you not said what you found in your analysis," an angry bench asked the CBI and warned that it would direct its DIG, who was to supervise the probe, to be present in court.
The CBI was also directed to move an application in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) for an early hearing of its plea, which has been adjourned to January 24, 2018, for seeking consent of the suspect students for a polygraph test.
The bench also gave directions to the CMM not to give such long dates in pleas for polygraph tests, especially in such a matter where there is urgency, saying it would defeat the purpose.
The court told CBI that even family members of the missing student can undergo polygraph, not just the suspects.
After over a month had passed since Najeeb went missing, his mother had moved the High Court on November 25 last year, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.
The high court had immediately directed the Delhi Police to "explore all angles" and "cut across political barriers" to trace the young man, saying no one could just vanish from the heart of the national capital.
However, as the police were clueless about Najeeb's whereabouts even after seven months since he went missing, the probe was handed over to CBI on May 16, 2017.
There months later in August when CBI failed to file a fresh progress report in the case, the high court had rebuked it, saying the probe was not transferred to the agency "for fun".
On September 6, the court again directed the CBI to take steps to trace Najeeb.