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2017 death of NLU Jodhpur student: Supreme Court asks Rajasthan Police to complete investigation in two months

The Court pulled up the state police for not having finished the investigation despite an order from the Rajasthan High Court to this effect passed in February this year.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today directed the Rajasthan Police to complete its probe into the death of a National Law University, Jodhpur student that took place in 2017 [Neetu Kumar Nagaich v. State of Rajasthan and Ors].

The Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha, and BR Gavai was hearing a petition filed by the deceased student's mother seeking a transfer of the probe from the Rajasthan Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Court pulled up the state police for not having finished the investigation despite an order from the Rajasthan High Court to this effect passed in February this year. The Apex Court has now mandated that the investigation be complete in two months. The matter will be heard after two months.

In the previous hearing, the Court had issued notice to the State of Rajasthan and had said it would first hear the police as regards the status of the investigation and why it had not progressed in three years since the incident took place.

The petition filed by the deceased student's mother raises various apprehensions as regards the investigation in the case and goes on to flag a number of purported lapses on the police's part. Owing to these lapses, the petitioner moved the Supreme Court seeking a transfer of the probe to the CBI.

In her plea filed before the Supreme Court, the petitioner says that there is an "inescapable reasonable apprehension that the lackadaisical and negligent investigation and prosecution of the instant FIR is a result of probable collusion to shield some high, mighty and influential person(s)."

It is claimed that the FIR in the case was not registered for a period of 10 months from the date of the incident, and was reluctantly filed thereafter. Three years since, the investigation is at a standstill with no progress and no chargesheet filed in the case. The petitioner alleges that there have been no efforts made by the police to apprehend the offenders. It delves into the aspects of the investigation that the police are yet to explore.

In 2019, the Rajasthan High Court, on being approached by the petitioner, directed the constitution of a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter. However, in February this year, the petition before the High Court was disposed of, with the Court recording the submissions made by the investigating agency. The plea states,

"The Hon'ble High Court has indirectly condoned the callous manner in which the investigation was being conducted, and merely directed the Investigating Officer to thoroughly investigate, collect any other evidence which might possibly be available for solving the alleged crime, and file the result of investigation in the court concerned."

Vikrant Nagaich, a third-year law student of NLU Jodhpur, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in August 2017. Nagaich had reportedly gone out with this friends to an establishment near the campus. While his friends returned to the campus, he told them that he would come later. When he was contacted later in the night, he assured his friends that he would come back soon. His body was discovered the next morning.

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Sunil Fernandes and the petition is filed through Advocate Astha Sharma. State of Rajasthan was represented by Dr. Manish Singhvi.

Read Order:

Neetu Nagaich vs State of Rajasthan - 08.07.2020.pdf
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