The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed an order of a trial court directing a probe against a Noida police officer for a botched-up investigation in a 2009 case of gangrape of a 24-year-old MBA student that led to the acquittal of nine persons.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar issued notice to the Delhi government, state of Uttar Pradesh through the DGP and others on a petition by inspector Anil Samaniya, who was the investigating officer (IO) of the case, seeking to expunge certain remarks of a Delhi trial court in Delhi in its February 16 judgment made against him.
The trial court, in its verdict acquitting the nine accused, had directed an investigation against him in his capacity as the IO of the case for not having conducted the probe properly.
The high court called for a status report or reply of the governments of Delhi and UP to the petition on or before the next date of hearing on October 10. “In the meanwhile, the direction passed by the trial court for initiating an inquiry against the petitioner (Samaniya) shall not be acted upon,” the bench said.
Samaniya, in his petition filed through advocate B S Joon, claimed that if the “factually wrong and incorrect” observations in the judgment are not expunged, they would adversely affect his future service and career.
“The adverse remarks made by the trial court are unwarranted, uncalled for, unnecessary and without any basis, rather, the same are contrary to the evidence on record,” the plea said, adding that these remarks would demoralise him.
It alleged that the trial court has failed to appreciate the evidence of the victim woman who had fully supported the prosecution case and identified all the accused in the court.
The trial court judge had said “these factors clearly show that due to the negligent, casual and unprofessional investigation conducted by the investigating officer, real culprits of the case could not be identified/arrested or subjected to administration of justice. Hence, I feel it appropriate that necessary action be taken against prosecution witness 21 Inspector Anil Samaniya, IO of the case, for his improper investigation of the case.”
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on the evening of January 5, 2009, when the girl along with her male friend, was returning from the Great India Place Mall in their car which was forcibly stopped by several youths who were returning on their motorcycles after a cricket match.
Brandishing cricket bats, four of these boys sat in the car and started beating the girl and her friend, pushed them to the back seat and drove the car to a secluded place near urban Noida village Garhi Chaukhandi, police had said.
At an isolated place, their other associates also joined and 11 persons allegedly gangraped the girl and took away their valuables like mobile phones, wrist watch and ATM cards, it said. The complaint was lodged with the Noida Police by the victim’s friend.
The accused in the case were Pushpender alias Tuiyan, Srikant, Sanjay, Gautam, Sudhir, Little, Omkar and Pushpender, Sashikant, Golu and a juvenile, all residents of Garhi Chaukhandi. All of them were on bail, while accused Pushpinder alias Tuiyan died during the trial.
The trial of the case was shifted from a Noida court to Tis Hazari Court in Delhi on Supreme Court’s order after the victim’s friend approached it, fearing threat to his life and facing pressure to withdraw the case. The victim had shifted to London after the incident following the alleged threats from the accused.
The trial court had said the identity of the real culprits could not be proved and pulled up the Noida police for not following proper procedures while investigating the matter and said no judicial Test Identification Parade of the accused was conducted by the IO.
It had held that the IO had left “no stone unturned for making this case impossible to be proved” and directed Noida Senior Superintendent of Police to take appropriate action against Samaniya, for his improper probe in the case.
The court had said defective investigation has caused the loss of material evidence regarding connection of the accused with the offence, their identification, identification of the place of incident and the case property.