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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Monday, declined to interfere with a Kerala High Court judgment ordering an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the custodial death of Sampath, prime accused in the murder of Sheela of Puthur, Palakkad.
Dismissing a special leave petition filed by the State government against the High Court judgment, a Bench of Justice Dalveer Bandari and Justice Deepak Verma wondered why the State was opposing such an investigation after the concurring findings of a single judge and a Division Bench of the High Court.
When P.P. Rao, senior counsel appearing for the State, said the State government had entrusted the investigation to a capable higher officer, Justice Bhandari said since that officer's colleagues were said to be involved in the custodial death, it would be better for the CBI to carry out the investigation.
Justice Bhandari orally observed: “It is astonishing. Why the State of Kerala is opposing the CBI probe. Whom does the government fear? The High Court order is comprehensive and clear.”
Justice Verma said that in his opinion, all custodial deaths should be investigated by the CBI.
The High Court, acting on a writ petition filed by Murukesh, elder brother of Sampath, had said that an impartial agency should hold the investigation not only in the interests of reaching a just conclusion but also in the interests of the credibility of the system.
“The very fact that none of the accused police personnel had been arrested so far would create doubts about the impartiality of the local police in the investigation of the crime,” the High Court said.
In its appeal, the State said the impartial investigation conducted by the State had revealed that Sampath had died of torture and third-degree methods inflicted on him in custody by the police team which interrogated him. Twelve policemen found to be involved in the incident had been suspended. When the investigation was going on in the right direction, the High Court had ordered a CBI investigation.
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