No fresh probe if charge sheet is filed: SC

New investigations only after higher court order

No investigating agency is empowered to undertake fresh investigation or “de novo” in a case in which a chargesheet had already been filed by the police, the Supreme Court has held.

A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar said higher courts can direct for a fresh investigation by another probe agency but they have to pass specific orders as to what would happen to the fate of the investigation already conducted.

The apex court gave the ruling while directing a Delhi court to consider all the materials, including a chargesheet filed by Delhi police’s special cell as well as CBI’s closure report, against two persons who were branded as Al-Badr terrorists by the former but later found to be Intelligence Bureau (IB) informers.

It said the competent court is “duty bound” to consider all reports, entire records and documents submitted by the investigating agency in terms of Section 173 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) unless prosecution itself requested to exclude any report or higher courts passed specific orders to ignore any of the reports.

Irshad Ali and Maurif Qamar were branded as terrorists and arrested by the Delhi police’s special cell in January 2006 allegedly with huge quantity of explosives after they came to the city from Jammu and Kashmir.

The accused approached the Delhi High Court, contending that they were working as informers for the IB but incurred the wrath of the police after they refused to go to Jammu and Kashmir to work on some secret operations. They also showed that before their arrest, a missing complaint was already lodged with the police in December 2005 by their family members.

The HC in May 2006 directed the CBI to investigate the case after noticing some flaws in the manner of arrest as well as recovery of explosives from the accused. The CBI submitted its report in November, 2007 and filed a closure report seeking discharge of both the accused and prosecution of Delhi police officers for false implication of the duo.

Afterwards, the accused, on their part, moved discharge application before the trial court, which, in February, 2009, rejected their plea.

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