The Supreme Court on Thursday put the CBI back in charge of the Bulandshahr gang-rape case days after staying the agency’s probe into the brutal assault and rape of a woman and her teenaged daughter in Uttar Pradesh.
Asking the CBI to complete the investigation with promptitude, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan modified its August 29 order after the agency argued that a stay might help the accused get bail.
The Bench agreed to look into the family’s plea to transfer the trial outside Uttar Pradesh in the light of senior U.P. Minister Azam Khan’s statement, describing the incident as a “political conspiracy.”
The court would consider whether the State, of which Mr. Khan is a high functionary, can allow itself these comments which potentially create distrust in the minds of victims as regards the fair investigation into the case.
“Why should people in power make such statements?” the Supreme Court had asked in an earlier hearing.
The family had submitted that its quest for justice suffered a jolt by Mr. Khan’s “outrageous” comments.
In an emotional appeal for justice, the victims had recounted to the Supreme Court their rape by a gang on the deserted National Highway 91 between Noida and Shahjahanpur in the dead of night on July 29.
The family said Mr. Khan’s statement had “outraged the modesty of the rape victims,” especially the minor daughter.
Arraigning Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Khan, the State police chief and the Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police as opposite parties, the family had accused them of causing “serious and substantive infringement of the fundamental rights of the petitioner to a lawful life, right to equality before law and right to civil liberty.”
They asked the court to direct the State to provide the minor “respectable and appropriate free-of-cost and safe educational arrangements”. The family also sought compensation from the State.