Agencies' grilling method questioned

Agencies' grilling method questioned

By ABHINANDAN MISHRA | New Delhi | 1 October, 2016
Investigation agencies, CBI, Supreme Court of India, PIL, BK Bansal
Supreme Court is hearing a PIL questioning interrogation methods of Investigating agencies
The suicide note of Bansal and his son had accused the CBI of harassment and humiliation.

Government officials are contemplating to file a PIL in the Supreme Court to seek the framing of guidelines for agencies in carrying out investigations following the suicide of B.K. Bansal and his son, who have alleged in their suicide letter of harassment and humiliation by the CBI, which was questioning them in an alleged case of bribery.

It is pertinent to mention here that Bansal’s wife and daughter had killed themselves in July, just a couple of days after Bansal was arrested by the agency on charge of taking bribes. In their suicide notes, his wife and daughter had mentioned that they were humiliated by the CBI.

A retired secretary level bureaucrat staying in Dwarka, who was facing a probe in a multi crore rupee scam before being given a clean chit, alleged that the investigative agencies in India, including the CBI and Delhi Police, were “living” in the medieval ages. “I have personally experienced the humiliation the CBI and the police subject people (to) who are unfortunate enough to fall in their hands. Even if you are the victim and not the perpetrator, both these agencies will make sure that they shred your respect to tatters. It is high time that the Supreme Court—since the government does not seem to have the will—finds a way to deal with the menace. We (a group of retired bureaucrats) had an informal discussion this week on this and we are thinking of approaching the Supreme Court with a PIL,” the retired bureaucrat said.

According to Vikas Upadhyaya, senior Supreme Court lawyer, the family members and friends of the Bansals had very few options. “They can file a complaint against the CBI under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, which talks about abetment to suicide. The complaint can be filed against all the officers who have harassed them and whose names have been mentioned in the suicide note. However, the problem is that the police would be reluctant to register a case due to obvious issues. Moreover, almost everyone who could be a witness in the case, or was harassed, is not alive anymore,” Upadhyaya said.

Another visibly disturbed official, who recently retired from DRDO, said that the suicide of the four individuals in the present case was very shocking and an eye opener as to how the different agencies harass citizens. “They are required to investigate, not to humiliate. But in India, humiliation at the hand of the police is seen as a part of the process to solve a crime,” the official said.

The National Human Rights Commission has already taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and has asked the CBI to share a copy of the suicide notes with it and send an “action taken report” on the allegations made therein within 72 hours, including the names of the delinquent public servants. The CBI has also been asked to provide the name of the havaldar/head constable who has not been mentioned in the suicide notes.

E-mails sent to the CBI seeking their comments on the matter elicited no response. However, in a press statement, CBI press officer R.K. Gaur said the agency was going to probe the role of its officers in the case and has appointed a joint director level official to look into the allegations made by Bansal and his family.

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