Court chides Delhi Police; rejects closure report

Rejecting the Delhi Police Special Cell's closure report which concluded that there was no substantive evidence to prove that a CD allegedly containing recorded conversation among senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and SP president Mulayam Singh discussing how to influence a sitting Supreme Court judge was forged as claimed by Mr. Bhushan, a court here has directed further investigation besides asking pointed questions on what could be the motive behind the creation of the CD.

Though the investigation was taken up after Mr. Bhushan filed a complaint, he later petitioned the court alleging that the police probe was faulty and prayed for re-investigation of the matter.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav criticised the Special Cell probe noting “baffling features” in its investigation, including failing to ascertain the motive behind creating the CD.

“The prosecuting agency clearly failed to investigate what was the motive for creating such a CD. Was it to malign the complainant and in turn thwart the civil society movement on the Lokpal Bill which he [Bhushan] had undertaken or was it a ploy to make the Supreme Court judge to recuse himself from the Bench which was hearing the 2G spectrum case or something else?” the court asked.

Among the counts on which the investigation was criticised include the filing of closure report before the matter was completely investigated; failure to probe who prepared the CD and when; failure to record voice samples of Amar Singh, Mulayam Singh, and Mr. Bhushan; and failure to record the statement of the former Uttar Pradesh Advocate General, Virender Dutt, who was purportedly present when the alleged conversation between Mulayam Singh and Mr. Bhushan happened.

“It is not clear why the final report has been filed in the matter which according to the view of the investigating agency is limited to seeing whether the CD was doctored or not…It is further not clear why the agency did not conduct any investigation on the source from where the said CD was prepared. It is not the case of the agency that the CD came from thin air. It is an electronic document and was prepared somewhere at some point of time,” Mr. Yadav noted.

The court also faulted the police for limiting its probe to Section 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the IPC. “The settled law is that if a complaint is made to the police and it finds commission of a cognisable offence, then the matter is to be investigated thoroughly and finally, and there cannot be any restraint on the power of the agency limiting itself to investigating only a particular offence,” the CMM observed.

The investigating officer also drew flak from the court for “rushing” to the prosecution seeking its opinion on filing a closure report rather than conducting a “thorough” investigation, despite “knowing fully well that the matter was investigated only in a limited fashion.”

On the forensic evidence presented in support of the prosecution, the court said: “It is settled law that the forensic evidence can only be used as corroborative evidence in support of other independent evidence. Here, the investigation has been based merely on the opinion of the experts and no investigation on factual aspects has been conducted.”

Urging the police to conduct an expedited probe in view of the serious allegations, Mr. Yadav said: “This court is of the firm opinion that the investigation in the matter has not been conducted properly. Accordingly, DCP, Special Cell, is hereby directed to get thorough investigation in the matter conducted on the points referred to herein above and file final report before the appropriate court.”

  • It is not clear why the agency did not conduct probe to know the source of the CD

  • Inquiry based only on expert opinion and no investigation on factual aspects conducted