Stating that the CBI had not investigated the case relating to the death of a city lawyer’s son last year thoroughly from various angles to come to a logical conclusion, the Madras High Court, in a significant order on Friday, appointed R.K.Raghavan, a former CBI Director, as Investigation Officer (IO) of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter. The SIT should submit a status report to the High Court in three months.
In its order on a habeas corpus petition, a Full Bench comprising Justices R.Banumathi, P.R.Shivakumar and S.Nagamuthu, said the IO would be assisted by M. Narayana Reddy, former Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Osmania University, Hyderabad. The IO would select his own team of officers from the Tamil Nadu police. The Bench directed the DGP, Tamil Nadu, to render the fullest cooperation and assistance to the SIT.
The case pertains to the death of R.Sankarasubbu’s son, S.Sathishkumar (24), also a lawyer. On June 7 last year, he left his house at Annanagar here in his motorcycle. He did not return. His body was found floating in the ICF lake on June 13. On Mr.Sankarasubbu’s petition, the High Court ordered a CBI investigation.
The petitioner’s consistent case was that Satishkumar would have been done to death and the body thrown into water. But in the latest status report of March 6 this year, the CBI concluded that the statement of witnesses, documents, medical records, scientific experts opinion and the circumstances revealed that Satishkumar committed suicide due to depression, frustration and his mental condition.
Writing the order for the Bench, Justice S.Nagamuthu said from the CBI’s status reports, it could be seen that the agency was investigating the case from the murder angle. While so, it filed its last report in which it suddenly submitted to the court that Satishkumar died of self-inflicted injuries. To arrive at such a conclusion, the opinion of a doctors team headed by T.D.Dogra, HOD, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, AIIMS, New Delhi, was relied upon. The doctors’ opinion that the four cut injuries on the body could have been self inflicted was based on the alleged recovery of two blades by the Thirumangalam Police.
The blades were found in the shirt pocket of the deceased by a casual labourer in the mortuary along with the two-wheeler key. Now, the CBI had concluded that the blades were not really recovered from the pocket and that the records had been falsely created to show so. Thus, according to CBI, the blades had been planted by police.
From the doctors’ statement, it could, at the most, be inferred that some material was found in the deceased’s shirt pocket which was evident from the video recording. It was also not explained to the court as to what happened to the material. Next, the petitioner seriously disputed the time of death. Yet another aspect was that decomposition changes were uniform all over the body. When the body was found floating, two chappals were found tightly fitted to the feet.
The Bench said there were a lot of suspects, including some hardcore criminals. The possibility of involvement of any of these people should have been thoroughly investigated. The CBI’s conclusion that Satishkumar had committed suicide had not been fully supported by facts and circumstances. Unless the possibility of homicide was ruled out, it could not be logically concluded that it was a suicide.
Therefore, the Bench said the matter needed a thorough further investigation by an independent skilled team of investigators.