The Delhi Police on Monday told the high court that it has not been able to carry out lie-detector tests on nine “suspect” students, in connection with the disappearance of Jawaharlal Nehru University student Najeeb Ahmed, as none of them responded despite multiple notices.
“If lie-detector tests are done on them, we may get some clue. If not, we may investigate in some other direction, so that the boy is found, before it’s too late,” Delhi government senior standing counsel, Rahul Mehra, told the court.
Mehra said all students were served notices multiple times in January through the vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar. “If these students have nothing to hide, they should come out and give their consent (to lie-detector test) and give their recording and come out unscathed”.
“Their hostel rooms are locked. For us, they are absconding. There are not in their native place too,” Mehra said. “Najeeb’s roommate, Mohd Qasim is also not cooperating in the investigation, due to which a needle of suspicion also goes towards him,” he said.
Responding to Mehra’s submission, a bench of justice GS Sistani and justice Vinod Goel said, “In a criminal investigation, they have to tell where they were on the fateful night, if not it is likely to draw an adverse inference.”
The bench said, “These nine boys do not have any past history… They should not feel apprehensive.”
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for one of the nine students, contended that the investigation was proceeding in a “one-sided manner”. Luthra said his client has been cooperating with the probe and was ready to appear before the agency, but the probe should be done in a fair manner.
These nine boys cannot be assumed to be guilty, Luthra said.
To this, Mehra said, “They are suspects. They are neither accused nor guilty… It is in their best interest to cooperate with the agency, otherwise we might have to go to the extent that we don’t want to.”
Mehra also said that a man was arrested for allegedly making a ransom call to Najeeb’s relatives demanding Rs 20 lakh for his release.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Najeeb’s mother, said, “VIP treatment is being given to these nine persons. Unless there is a custodial interrogation, there will not be a breakthrough to this case.”
The court was hearing habeas corpus plea moved by Najeeb’s mother, Fatima Nafees, who has sought direction to trace her son who has been missing since the intervening night of October 14-15. It has posted the case for further hearing on February 13.
Najeeb, 27, a first year M.Sc. student, went missing from his Jawaharlal Nehru University hostel on the night of October 14-15, allegedly after a row with members of RSS student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The ABVP has denied any involvement in his disappearance.