Did the CBI circumvent legal provisions by detaining Dr Rajesh Talwar’s compounder Krishna for an ‘unreasonable period’ before finally arresting him on Friday in connection with the Arushi-Hemraj murder case? Did the probe agency resort to ‘illegal tactics’ to keep Krishna in its custody for more than the prescribed time limit of 15 days?
Ever since the CBI picked up Krishna on June 3, the probe agency has been criticised for the way it continued to ‘detain’ him without formally arresting him.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), a person cannot be kept in the custody of an investigating agency for more than 15 days. In fact, he/she cannot be detained for more than 24 hours if he is arrested and has to be produced before the court. Legal experts have slammed the CBI's conduct in dealing with Krishna, including the tests conducted on him.
Justice R.S. Sodhi, a former judge of the Delhi High Court, termed the procedure adopted by CBI illegal. “The CBI has done exactly what they are not allowed to do. The investigation is so flawed that the Evidence Act hits it. If they claim to have arrested him on the basis of the disclosure made during the narco-analysis that will be illegal. His statements cannot be read against him because he was not under formal arrest. It will also violate section 27 of the Evidence Act,” Justice Sodhi told HT.
Senior advocate KTS Tulsi said: “It is illegal detention. You cannot keep somebody in informal custody for indefinite period. A person cannot be subjected to so many tests without his consent.”
Advocate Vikas Pahwa said the CBI has “cleverly” managed to investigate Krishna’s role without arresting him. “The CBI, without arresting him, did everything which they should have done after taking him into custody. They did not arrest him but kept him in a lock-up. His family was not allowed to meet him. All kinds of tests were performed.”
Senior advocate Aman Lekhi said the CBI’s functioning smacks of an attempt to shield the real culprit.