Paralysed Investigating Agencies

Arushi & Hemraj murder mystery and the shoddy investigation report of elite investigating agency looks more like a Bollywood film plot. An ideal masala for a commercial movie [notorious film-maker Kamaal Rashid Khan is reportedly working on it].

Both parties were seen trying hard press their point on prime-time on news channels. Neither the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] is certain about the motive, culprit(s) nor are the viewers.

For the media and most of the audience it is a case seeking justice for a young girl and a domestic help. I believe that most of us feel the same. We would surely join the chorus of the media for the delivery of justice sooner than later. Although I am standing in the same crowd but my insatiable mind is rewinding various criminal cases in our recent past.

For instance, Nadeem Alam's death in AMU police firing in 1996. The police and CBI investigated for almost 10 years without reaching to any conclusion. The case went to Supreme Court but because of weak investigation none of the accused was convicted.

Take the recent acquittal of Dr Javed Akhtar's son – Salman - by the court in the Delhi 2008 Blast case. Police and the Anti-terrorist Squand (ATS) wrongly charged him for his links with Delhi blast conspirators but the court acquitted him as the prosecution could not prove anything. Dr Mohd Saleem and his family’s murder cases, where the CBI was called in but here again CBI along with the police failed to figure out anything. The investigation as well as the case is pending for the last 10 years.

Another instance of incorrect or no investigation is a dacoity case at one of my friend's house. When my friend went to police to file an FIR (First Information Report) for the crime, the police instead of investigating the case arrested him along with a friend who went with him! Then he had to give a handsome bribe to get himself out of trouble. Later neither the dacoity was investigated by the police nor the family pursed it with them.

Look at the cases of national importance like Mecca Masjid Blast, Samjhuta Expressed blast, Ajmer, Malegaon etc. The list of shoddy and misleading investigations by the our agencies is very long. The condition is such that a normal civilian fears the police more than criminals. There is a dual fear from police and investigation agencies, one that they might extort money from us, and other that they would falsely implicate us and it will take years to come out of their grip.

Therefore, I feel the time is ripe for the country to introspect the way criminal cases are investigated in India. If the agencies like CBI and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are not able to detect and solve small murder cases like the ones mentioned, then how can we expect these elite agencies to resolve the serious crimes like terrorism and naxalism.

With my minimal understanding of the system, I draw two inferences; first, that these agencies do not have the requisite expertise, second, these agencies are political tools to misguide the nation with some confusing facts, so that the complex criminal justice system can be failed.

These repeated failures and incorrect accusations are diluting our faith in the system. The economically or politically marginalized suffer even more by such miscarriage of justice. I hope that some one in the government has the will and acumen to bring change in the way these agencies work. Hopefully, before it is too late. Before it completely paralyses India’s justice delivery system.

Born in Azamgarh the writer is a project coordinator in the Middle-East and can be reached at yasirbintaiyab[at]yahoo[.]co[.]in

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