Expressing faith in the investigation conducted by the Mumbai police in the murder of J. Dey, senior reporter with MiD Day, the Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed two petitions seeking a CBI probe into the case. Dey was shot dead by four persons in broad daylight last month, allegedly at the behest of fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan.
The Mumbai Crime Branch, which is investigating the case, has already arrested eight persons and slapped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on them.
The police submitted two status reports to the court.
“We must state that having perused the report and having heard learned Advocate-General, it is not possible for us to come to a conclusion that investigation of this case is lackadaisical, perfunctory or is not on proper lines,” the Division Bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjit More observed on Monday.
Advocate V.P. Patil and the former scribe, S. Balakrishnan, had filed a public interest litigation petition each, pleading for a CBI inquiry in the matter. The Mumbai Press Club and Marathi Patrakar Parishad had filed an intervention application and another former scribe, Ketan Tirodkar, had filed a writ petition requesting the same. The court dismissed all the petitions.
The petitioners argued that the police arrested only the “small fry” in the case and that the motive behind the murder had not been investigated. They argued that a section of the Mumbai police had links with the underworld and hence an impartial probe could not be conducted.
The court found these allegations “general.”
“The averments made in the petitions… do not constitute sufficient material disclosing a prima facie case calling for an investigation by the CBI… There is nothing to even prima facie establish that the officers investigating J. Dey murder have links with the underworld.”
Mr. V.P. Patil argued that because the case had national and international ramifications, it should be transferred to the CBI. But the court disagreed.
“We do not feel the Mumbai police cannot successfully investigate it. In this connection, learned Advocate-General has rightly cited example of the case involving the terrorist attack on Mumbai on 26/11/2008 in which Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national, was involved. The case was successfully investigated by the Mumbai police,” the order stated.
It said the power to transfer a probe to the CBI should be used sparingly. According to the principles deduced from Supreme Court judgments: “An aggrieved person can only claim that the offence he alleges be investigated properly, but he has no right to claim that it be investigated by an agency of his choice.”
The Division Bench observed that the petitioners had failed to produce necessary material evidence to prove that the probe was partial.
“In the absence of any material on record substantiating the allegation that the Mumbai police have links with the underworld, it is difficult for us to hold that this is an exceptional case warranting a transfer to the CBI.”
Mr. V.P. Patil told The Hindu that he would challenge the order in the Supreme Court.