The CBI and the NHRC are yet to make public the results of their investigations in the Bansal family suicide case, almost a year after the incident. This has led to allegations that the CBI is trying to protect its officers whose actions allegedly led to the multiple suicides. The Delhi based Bansal family had taken their lives after allegedly being tortured and harassed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Following the incident, the NHRC had taken a suo-motto cognizance of it and the CBI had initiated an internal inquiry under a joint director rank official to look into the alleged involvement of its officers.
Bal Kishan Bansal, who worked at a senior position in the Corporate Affairs Ministry, was found dead at his Madhu Vihar residence in East Delhi on 27 September 2016 along with his 31-year-old son. The father and son’s death were preceded by the death of Kishan Bansal’s wife and his daughter, both of whom committed suicide on 22 July 2016, three days after Kishan Bansal was arrested by the CBI for his alleged role in a corruption case.
Kishan Bansal and his son Yogesh had left a five-page and a two-page suicide note respectively before hanging themselves from the ceiling fan in their rooms. The notes contained harassment charges against four CBI officers, including a DIG-rank official, and had been pasted in the walls by them. They had also left a copy of the same at three different places in their home.
Bansal had named several CBI officials in his suicide note, accusing them of making “my family life hell”. Among those he named were Sanjeev Gautam, who was then a deputy inspector general in the agency, superintendent of police Amrita Kaur, deputy superintendent of police Rekha Sangwan and investigating officer Harnam Singh, apart from an unnamed head constable.
A family member of Bansal, who spoke to The Sunday Guardian, said that the CBI officials “questioned” the immediate family members of the Bansals with the intention of dissuading them from “following up” the case. “We were questioned for five hours by the agency officials and we got so scared that even after a well known human rights lawyer approached us to help us file a legal case against the CBI for abetting the death of the Bansals, we could not muster the courage to do so.” the Bansal family-member said.
According to another member of Bansal’s family, when the CBI raided the Bansals in July 2016, Kishan Bansal’s wife Satyabala, 58, came out of her room to prepare tea for the CBI officials who had been sitting in their house since morning. “She came out and told the officers that she would get them tea and biscuits. However, one of the officials rebuked her and said that ‘We cannot have a tea that is prepared by a woman like you’, leaving her deeply traumatised,” the family member recalled.
An agency official said that the CBI had already prepared its report, a copy of which was also submitted to the NHRC. However, it was unclear whether the inquiry had found any of its officials guilty of abetting the Bansals to commit suicide.
E-mails sent to the CBI spokesperson seeking the agency’s response did not elicit any response. NHRC spokesperson Jamini Shrivastava also remained unavailable for the comments. As per the NHRC sources, the CBI had submitted a detailed report in the matter in December 2016 after which the NHRC had called for additional information from the CBI in the matter. However, things were put in “cold storage” after that.