KERALA

Sex scandal: High Court concerned over slow probe

KOCHI, OCT. 7. The Kerala High Court today observed that a perusal of the case diary relating to the sexual exploitation of a minor girl leads it "to gather the impression that there has been no efficient and expeditious investigation".

Justice R. Basant made the observation while dismissing an anticipatory bail petition filed by Latha Nair, one of the accused in the case. It was for the authorities concerned to ensure that a proper investigation was conducted, the court added.

The public prosecutor submitted that the investigation could not be expedited because the Circle Inspector in charge of the case was saddled with other responsibilities. The court then said that in a case like this, the department must certainly be able to spare the service of an efficient officer exclusively for investigation.

The judge said that a perusal of the case diary had created reservation in the minds of the court regarding the manner in which the investigation had been conducted. The court found that the complaint lodged by the father of the victim with the Superintendent of Police had not been treated as the First Information Statement.

Contradictions

The court noted that page one of the complaint was different from pages two and three. (The content of the pages was found contradictory.) The court asked whether pages two and three were altered and changed. Why the complaint of the father had not been accepted and treated as the First Information Statement? The court said that no satisfactory information was forthcoming in this regard.

The court, however, directed the High Court Registry to sign and affix a High Court seal on the pages of the complaint. This was to ensure that no further tampering with the complaint took place. Besides, it deserved to be considered why the pages were different from each other. The complaint did not form part of the case diary earlier produced by the police. The complaint was tagged in the case diary produced today before the court.

The court also noted that the age of the victim was not ascertained till October 6, 2004.

Hospital records

Besides, the hospital records showed that the girl's name was given in such a manner that there was some sort of formal relationship between the girl and the second accused. The question as to who gave the name and under what circumstances has not been probed in detail. Dismissing the bail plea, the court directed the accused to appear before the investigation officer and seek bail in the lower court concerned.