The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up Delhi Police over the manner in which the probe into the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, missing since October last year, has been conducted. It said it gives “an impression that investigation was not being done properly”.
A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Deepa Sharma said the conduct of the police showed it was trying to sensationalise the matter or looking for a way out.
“Why was the status report filed by the Delhi police in a sealed cover? Why the police commissioner, the SIT (special investigation team), or the Investigating Officer thought it was so crucial, damaging (in the report),” the bench said.
“It (status report) does not show that he (Ahmad) was accessing any fundamentalist website,” the bench noted when senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Ahmad’s mother, contended that a newspaper had quoted a police source in a news report that claimed that before his disappearance Ahmad had been looking for information on Islamic State (IS).
“We have to keep in mind the possibility that the police is trying to sensationalise or trying to find an escape route,” the bench said, adding the police should have carried out an internal inquiry as to who was the officer who had leaked or planted that information.
The court pulled up the police for not questioning the nine students suspected to be behind Najeeb’s disappearance on day one itself and not taking them into custody.
“What is the point of sending 400 men across the country to find Ahmad, when you have not probed any of the suspects,” the bench said.
Noting that the WhatsApp messages of the suspected students have not yet been examined, the bench said if the messages of the period when Najeeb went missing have been deleted, “then that in itself is incriminating”.
The bench told the police officer, probing the case, not to be “judgmental” about the medical condition of Najeeb.
Najeeb’s mother, Fatima Nafees, sat on one of the benches in the courtroom and wept the entire duration of the proceeding. The court has posted the case for further hearing on Monday.