In a recent case, the Apex Court has observed that there was no embargo on them when it comes to transferring an investigation to CBI after submission of the charge sheet.
A three-judge bench of the Court comprising Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee observed the above while cancelling pre-arrest bail granted to in-laws of a deceased woman in a dowry death case and also directed the CBI to investigate the case.
The Allahabad High Court had granted pre-arrest bail to the in-laws of the deceased woman, who were accused in the case.
While granting the anticipatory bail, the Allahabad High Court had observed that:-
- Prima facie, it was possible that the contents of the FIR were manipulated to implicate the applicants(in-laws).
- There was no correlation between the allegations levelled in the FIR.
- There were no specific allegations and that the allegations were general in nature.
Reasoning and Order of the Supreme Court
It was observed that investigation by the UP police ‘leaves much to be desired’ and the FIR contained incidents like demanding of dowry, prior incidents of assault, and payment of money made to the in-laws.
The Court also referred to phone calls exchanged between the father in law of the deceased and the deceased before the body of deceased was found and in such circumstances, the grant of anticipatory bail would amount to obstruction of the investigation.
It was further observed that an FIR filed by a father who has suffered the death of his daughter could not be termed as ‘engineered’.
Hon’ble Court also noted that even though a charge sheet was submitted to a competent Court, it does not mean that a superior Court cannot transfer the case if there was a reason to believe that the investigation was tainted.
A reference was also made to Pooja Pal vs Union Of India and Dharam Pal vs State of Haryana where it was held that the Supreme Court has the power to transfer an investigation to CBI no matter at which stage the trial was at that point of time.
Lastly, the Court noted that the conduct of the local authorities did not inspire confidence, and therefore the investigation should be transferred to the CBI.
Title: Naresh Kumar Mangla vs Anita Agarwal
Case No.: 872-873 of 2020
Date of Order:17.12.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee