CBI to probe B'lore IT firm staffer's murder

CBI to probe B'lore IT firm staffer's murder

CBI to probe B'lore IT firm staffer's murder

More than two years after the murder of Dell employee Payal Surekha in Bangalore, the Supreme Court on Friday directed a CBI inquiry into the case after the victim’s father and the accused alleged that the city crime branch did not arrest the real culprit.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra allowed two separate special leave petitions filed on behalf of Deen Dayal Surekha, father of the 29-year-old woman, and the accused, James Kumar Ray.

Surekha was found murdered at her J P Nagar residence on December 17, 2010. Her husband, Anant Narayan Mishra, who owned a gym in Bangalore, had left for Odisha the previous day. After four days of investigation, police arrested Mishra’s friend James Kumar Ray (28) in Vijayawada.

According to the police charge sheet, Ray, who worked as an instructor at Mishra’s gym, harboured a grudge against the couple after they sacked him for selling some items in the gym without their knowledge. He was granted bail by the apex court in December last year.

Ray had sought a CBI probe into the matter, which was supported by the victim’s father. They contended that the city crime branch, which was directed by the Karnataka High Court to probe the case, could not interrogate Mishra, who is from Cuttack.

“This is a case where an anguished father of the victim is before the court. The role of the husband is to be investigated,” advocate Suresh Chandra Tripathy, appearing for Ray, said.

Tripathy alleged that Mishra’s parents, who were holding the posts of deputy superintendent of police in Odisha, used their contacts to safeguard their son, resulting in an unfair investigation.

Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the CBI, submitted that Surekha’s husband has been dubiously avoiding the police. Luthra initially suggested to the court to ask the director general of police to monitor the ongoing investigation by CCB Bangalore, but agreed to a CBI probe later. The court also noted that the CBI had its office at Bhubaneswar.

In his petition before the apex court, the father of the victim, hailing from the Bongaiagaon district in Assam, challenged an order passed by the Karnataka High Court on April 19 last year.

The high court had allowed a plea made by the CBI against a magistrate court order passed on August 9, 2011, to take up the probe into the matter. “Months after taking up the probe, the crime branch is proceeding in the same direction as that of the police and saying that Anant is not cooperating. It is clear that the crime branch is incompetent to handle the case at hand,” the petition said.

Following the brief hearing, the court said: “Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, we entrust the FIR registered with the J P Nagar police station to the CBI for further investigation.”

Payal’s parents had expressed unhappiness over the police investigation from the beginning. They suspected that the police had let off the real assailant and wanted Mishra to be quizzed thoroughly. The police had interrogated Mishra before arresting Ray. Payal’s parents moved the high court which directed the CCB to re-examine the entire case. They were also not happy with the CCB investigation and said they would not get justice if the investigation was carried out in that fashion. 

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