The Manipur High Court has directed CBI to take over a 21-year-old case on the alleged killing of a CRPF constable in Manipur on September 5.
The police had already disposed it terming it a case of suicide by the concerned police station with the approval of a single bench judgment.
CRPF constable, Nishan Singh, posted at the camp of battalion of Heavy Fuel Power Project, Leimakhong, Senapati district reportedly died on November 19, 2002 at the camp.
Nishan’s mother Surinder Kaur filed a writ petition before the high court for directing the Central and State Respondents to conduct/hold an enquiry through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding the death of her son, Nishan Singh.
The brief of the complaint was that, “According to the mother’s petition, her son Nishan Singh, Constable of 26th Bn. CRPF, was killed in the barracks of the Battalion on 19.11.2002. At the relevant point of time, the Company Commander of D-Company was P.K. Sahu and in the same Company Havildar TJ Thomas, Havildar Tejudeen, Constable Mohinder Singh, Water Carrier Deka and Barbar Thakur were also working.
The Commandant of 26th Bn Dinesh Kumar used to come to the D-Company very often and one day before November 19, 2002, the Commandant Dinesh Kumar came to the D-Company and after talking with the Company Commander PK Sahu, the Commandant started living at the residence of P.K. Sahu. When he stayed away from his room, the Quarter Master of the D-Company asked the Constable, Nishan Singh, to put a chair inside the room where the Commandant Dinesh Kumar stayed.
When Nishan Singh picked up the chair and went inside the room to place it, he saw Commandant Shri Dinesh Kumar and the wife of P.K. Sahu in an objectionable condition. The news of the illicit relationship of the Commandant Dinesh Kumar with the wife of the Company Commandant was spread by Nishan Singh. Unable to tolerate the spreading of the news, both Dinesh Kumar and PK Sahu planned to murder Nishan Singh and when Nishan Singh went to the barrack to take his place for lunch, the Company Commander ordered Constable Mohinder Singh, Havildar Tajuddin, Havildar Thomas to go to his barrack and kill Nishan Singh.
Pursuant to the order of the Company Commander, all the aforesaid three persons started beating Nishan Singh in his barrack. Havildar Tajuddin and Constable Mohinder Singh caught hold of Nishan Singh from both sides and Havildar Thomas fired a Insas rifle of Mohinder Singh from the point blank range on his abdomen and killed Nishan Singh.”
After the incident, all the above personnel spread rumour that Nishan Singh has committed suicide. On November 20, 2002, two Sub-Inspectors of Police from Sapermeina Police Station came to the place of occurrence and investigated the matter and filed a report under Section 174 Cr.P.C. in the U.D. Case No. 2 of 2002 disposing the case.
In 2005, the deceased’s mother had originally filed the writ petition before the Imphal Bench of Gauhati High Court for direction to the respondents to conduct enquiry through CBI qua the murder of her son on November 19, 2002 at the camp of Battalion at Heavy Fuel Power Project, Leimakhong of Senapati District.
The Gauhati High Court in 2016 dismissed the case stating that there is no prima facie case and the materials on record are not sufficient to direct the CBI to investigate into the case.
However, the Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur delved deep into the materials, reports and documents and stated that it is seen that the state police authorities have not investigated the case properly.
In the case on hand, a Complaint dated November 19, 2002 before the jurisdictional police station has been lodged by the then Company Commander D-26 CRPF PK Sahu and the jurisdictional police treated the said complaint as UD Case No. 2 of 2002 under Section 174 Cr.P.C.
The Investigating Officer has filed a report under Section 174 Cr.P.C. on July 5, 2003 stating that since the case is suicidal in nature, the same may be disposed of. Similarly, the Commandant Dinesh Kumar had ordered constitution of Court of Inquiry and the Court of Inquiry submitted a report to the effect that the death of Nishan Singh is only by suicide. Agreeing with the report of the Court of Inquiry, the Commandant Dinesh Kumar had passed an order on February 18, 2003 holding that the death is attributed to the individual’s act of committing suicide.
The lead senior counsel appearing for the appellant Kh Chonjon submitted that the Commandant Dinesh Kumar should not take part in the Court of Inquiry held for the death of Nishan Singh.
“We noticed from the materials available on record that immediately after the date of occurrence, the Company Commander PK Sahu and other persons who are all said to have been involved in the alleged crime proceeded on leave. The same has not been controverted by the respondents. When suspicion exists, the Court can order fresh enquiry/investigation”, stated the double bench of Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran and Justice A Guneshwar Sharma.
The High Court opined that the investigation by the police authorities is not in a proper direction and in order to do complete justice in the case and if high police officials are involved in the alleged crime, the Court may be justified in such circumstances to hand over the investigation to an independent agency like CBI. It is well settled that even after the filing of the charge sheet, the Court is empowered in an appropriate case to handover the investigation to an independent agency like the CBI.
It is stated in the Judgment and order of the Single Bench is very pathetic, as the allegation is against the higher officials of the disciplined force who are alleged to have caused death to a newly joined Constable, aged about 21 years at the time of occurrence. The loss of a young jawan who joined the CRPF with a huge dream cannot be tolerated by the mother. Bearing in mind the position of law, as discussed above and, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Division Bench is opined that this is a fit case to issue direction to conduct CBI investigation into the alleged crime.
Further, the HC directed that the Investigating Officer appointed by the Joint Director of CBI, Manipur, shall be entitled to take possession of all the records in FIR/Police UD Case No.2 of 2002 dated November 19, 2002 from the file of Saparmaina Police Station and also other relevant records/documents pertaining to the case of the death of Nishan Singh from the office of the Inspector General, Manipur & Nagaland Sector, CRPF, Imphal, Manipur and also from the other offices for the purpose of fresh investigation.
On what aspects the fresh investigation shall be carried out is left to the wisdom of the CBI by the HC. And the HC instructed to carry out fresh investigation and to complete as early as possible, preferably within a period of three months.