Millennium Post

HC transfers Jiah Khan death case from Mumbai police to CBI

HC transfers Jiah Khan death case from Mumbai police to CBI
The court today lambasted the CBI for showing reluctance to take up the case as it faced shortage of officers. 'It is not expected of CBI to come out with such an excuse saying they do not have enough officers to conduct a probe. In a country of one billion people an investigative agency like CBI should not take such a stance otherwise where will the citizens go to seek justice,' Justice Kanade said.

Reacting to the verdict, Rabia Khan told reporters outside the court, 'CBI's stand in the court has surprised us. There is a big question mark on what would happen now.' Justice Kanade noted that Jiah was an American citizen and they had observed that two officers of the US Consulate were attending the proceedings since the last few days. 'See how much concern that country has for its citizens. Look at our agency (CBI) which is refusing to probe citing lack of staff.' CBI should learn a lesson from this and come forward to help in meeting the ends of justice, said the Judges while expressing 'surprise and anguish' over the agency's stand.

Rabia had in January this year written to the then US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell seeking FBI assistance in the probe and, according to a communication from the authorities on behalf of the envoy, the FBI was prepared to lend a helping hand in the probe provided India agreed. The judges were visibly annoyed with CBI for refusing to take up this case. At one stage, they asked the lawyer if she had taken instructions from a competent officer in the probe agency and, if yes, who was the concerned officer.

As she pointed at the officer who was present in the court, the bench asked the lawyer about his designation and the judges were informed that he was an officer of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police. Thereupon, the bench said 'we are sure he doesn't have powers to give such instructions. Neither he can take such decisions nor you (lawyer) can make such submissions.'

It was for a second time that Rabia has approached the High Court for handing over the case to CBI. In October 2013, she had filed a petition seeking a CBI probe but did not press for it after the court asked police to record her statement and investigate the case from the angle of murder. The police had probed the case accordingly but again concluded it to be a case of suicide and charged Suraj with abetment.
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