Rajasthan HC calls for status report on investigation into 2017 death of NLU Jodhpur student
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Rajasthan HC calls for status report on investigation into 2017 death of NLU Jodhpur student

Meera Emmanuel

The Rajasthan High Court has called for the submission of a detailed status report on the investigation into the death of NLU Jodhpur student, Vikrant Nagaich.

Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati issued the order this week in a plea moved by Nagaich’s father, Colonel Jayant Kumar through advocates Mohit Singhvi, Himanshu Choudhary and Aishwarya Anand.

Nagaich, a third-year student of the National Law University (NLU) Jodhpur at the time, was found dead on railway tracks near the University on August 14, 2017. He had reportedly gone out with this friends to an establishment near the campus on a Sunday evening. 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.

A year and a half later, the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) investigating the case is yet to have even filed a chargesheet in the case, contends Jayant Kumar in his petition. The overall conduct of the investigation itself has been faulted by the petitioner. He has submitted that the police were reluctant to file an FIR, to begin with. It was only after the CB-CID  intervened on the petitioner’s urging that an FIR was registered ten months after Nagaich was found dead.

Kumar has argued that the approach of the investigating authorities has been laid back and apathetic. He has submitted that they were also reluctant to inform the parents of Nagaich’s death. Further, it is argued that the police also played down the seriousness of the case after unsubstantiated statements were made claiming that Nagaich may have committed suicide following depression.

To the contrary, Kumar argues that there is enough material to indicate that Nagaich was murdered. In this regard, the following aspects are highlighted.

  • An Internal Railway Enquiry Report, procured by the petitioner, revealed that there were no records of any accident being reported by any member of lobby crew, locomotive drivers or guards of the trains which passed from the railway tracks on the night of August 13, 2017.
  • No suicide note has been recovered.
  • No doctor’s receipt or medication indicating that Nagaich had been suffering from depression has been recovered.
  • A statement given by Nagaich’s friend states that he did not find the body when he went near the railway tracks on August 14, 2017, at around 7-7:30 am. The body of the deceased was found later near the railway tracks at around 9:30 am.
  • As per the post mortem report, the injuries that caused death are head and spine injuries, along with injuries sustained on the testicles of the deceased. Therefore, there is a possibility that the deceased was abused and eventually murdered.

Despite this, the investigating authorities are yet to take any substantial action in the case. As stated in the petition,

“… apart from the statements of some of the students of the university and some other related persons, who were present with the deceased on the night of the incident, no other substantial issue has even been touched by the officials with respect to the alleged murder of the deceased, and resultantly the possible culprits are breathing in the free air and are moving and residing freely in the society, without any obstacles or resistance, whatsoever.

The need for expeditious investigation in the case also assumes urgency given that potential witnesses in Nagaich’s batch are set to graduate in May this year. The petition points out,

“… it would be technically and practically impossible for the students to come and record their statements, being scattered in different parts of the country…the Respondents, are well aware of this situation and are still not willing to record the statements of these students, which is nothing but a mere tactic to delay the investigation which has already been inordinately delayed and is a sheer abuse of the process of law.

Kumar moved the High Court after representations airing these grievances to government representatives went unanswered. In response, the Jodhpur Bench of the High Court has now instructed the Public Prosecutor to ensure the appearance of the Investigating Officer on the next date of hearing, along with the submission of a status report.

The case has been posted to be taken up on April 3.

Read the Order:

NLU-Jodhpur-student-death-Rajasthan-HC-order-March-2019.pdf
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Read the Petition:

NLU-Jodhpur-student-death-Raj-HC-Petition.pdf
Preview
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