Rupa Tirkey death case: J’khand HC orders CBI probe; contempt proceedings against AG
The Jharkhand high court (HC) on Wednesday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of Sahibganj police officer Rupa Tirkey in May this year, besides directing to initiate proceeding for contempt of court against advocate general Rajiv Ranjan and additional advocate general Sachin Kumar for a remark made during the case hearing.
Tirkey, 26, who was officer in-charge of Sahibganj women’s police station, was found hanging at her official residence on May 3. According to state police investigation, Tirkey’s friend and colleague, sub-inspector Shiv Kumar Kanaujia, allegedly harassed her, which led to her suicide. Kanaujia was subsequently arrested in the case.
However, Tirkey’s father Devanand Oraon alleged his daughter was murdered. In June, he filed a petition in the HC for a CBI probe. He alleged his daughter was harassed by some colleagues at the instance of Pankaj Mishra, assembly representative of chief minister Hemant Soren, and another person named Dahu Yadav. Since her daughter went against Mishra’s wishes to manage some of the cases she was investigating, she was murdered, the father alleged.
Following an outcry over her death by tribal rights groups and opposition BJP, the Hemant Soren government set up a one-member judicial commission headed by a former HC justice to probe the allegations. Tirkey’s father had challenged the government’s decision in the HC.
“The bench of Justice SK Dwivedi on Wednesday directed a CBI probe. We had been highlighting that it was a rare case, wherein police started projecting it as a suicide from the very next day after her body was found in mysterious conditions,” said Rajiv Kumar, Oraon’s counsel.
Contempt proceedings against AG, AAG
In a related matter, the bench of justice Dwivedi also ordered to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against advocate general Rajiv Ranjan and additional advocate general Sachin Kumar for one of their remarks during hearing in the case.
During one of the virtual hearings, the microphone of the petitioner’ counsel was left on even after the day’s proceedings got over. The counsel was heard telling those sitting around him that he was “200% sure that the court would order a CBI probe in the case”.
The AG and the AAG raised it before the bench next day, to which justice Dwivedi asked if they were willing to give their submission through an affidavit. They refused and prayed that their verbal submission was enough. Justice Dwivedi then announced to recuse himself from the hearing and directed the petition to be put up before the chief justice for further direction.
Chief justice Dr Ravi Ranjan then directed to continue the hearing in the court of justice Dwivedi.
The petitioner then filed an interlocutory petition (IA), seeking contempt proceedings against the AG and the AAG. Though the court rejected the IA as it was not maintainable, it took suo motu cognisance and served notices. Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of the AG and AAG on Tuesday and defended the two lawyers. “The court, however, reserved its order on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it ordered criminal contempt proceedings,” said a lawyer involved in court proceedings in the matter.
Case so far
May 3: Sahibganj police officer Rupa Tirkey found hanging at her official residence.
May 9: Tirkey’s friend and SI Shiv Kumar Kanaujia held for “abetment of suicide”
In June, Tirkey’s father filed petition in J’khand HC to direct CBI probe, claimed it to be a murder case
Following demands by her family, tribal groups and the Opposition, the state govt set up a one-member judicial commission; Tirkey’s father challenges the decision
Sept 1: The J’khand HC directs CBI probe into the case