New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on Monday had said that it had a “fresh and very important lead” in the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, but the premier investigating agency apparently failed to walk the talk when it told the Delhi High Court that it was awaiting forensic results of call details, WhatsApp messages and location details of nine students who are accused of assaulting Najeeb prior to his disappearance.
The CBI, which was handed over the probe on May 16, 2017, after the Delhi Police failed to trace the young man, had said the same on the previous date of the hearing that had taken place on November 14, last year.
Najeeb (27), a student of M.Sc Biotechnology, had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi Hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15, 2016, following an alleged scuffle with students associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsel for Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees, argued to put on record the fact that the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police caught a random auto driver and peddled a false theory of him going on his own to Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university. The CBI had on November 14, 2017, placed this fact on the record of the court that the Crime Branch officers had randomly picked up an auto driver and forcefully extracted a false statement from him.
As the hearing resumed on Tuesday, the counsel for the CBI referred to Monday’s demonstration outside the CBI headquarters, alleging that the protesters blocked the CBI gates. Students of JNU, Delhi University, JMI, Aligarh Muslim University and others had on the call of Fatima Nafees staged a protest outside the CBI headquarters, alleging that the agency is not doing enough to trace Najeeb. CBI SP SS Gurum had assured the protesters that the agency has fresh and very important leads which they would present before the court in today’s hearing.
The High Court bench comprising Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta told the CBI that this was a “democratic expression of the anxiety of the people” since the case is dragged on for so long.
The CBI – said Advocate Colin – has not pursued the investigation with the much-needed urgency and now they came to the court requesting an order to speed up the process. He alleged the police wasted one year pursuing the concocted story of the auto driver.
He reiterated an earlier prayer for a court-monitored inquiry. He requested that a retired judge should be appointed by the court to monitor the case and look at all the documents submitted by the Crime Branch and the CBI. The judges have put this plea on hold to look at the CFSL reports.
The CBI had earlier faced flak from the high court for its "complete lack of interest" and not showing any result in its probe into the disappearance of Najeeb, five months after being handed over the investigation.
Over a month after Najeeb went missing, his mother had moved the high court on November 25, 2016, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.
The high court had immediately directed the Delhi Police to “explore all angles” and “cut across political barriers” to trace the young man, saying no one could just vanish from the heart of the national capital.
However, as the police remained clueless about Najeeb’s whereabouts even after seven months since he went missing, the probe was handed over to the CBI nine months ago.
In August last year, when the CBI failed to file a fresh progress report in the case, the high court had rebuked it, saying the probe was not transferred to the agency “for fun”.
On September 6, the court again directed the CBI to take steps to trace Najeeb.
“The probe has not moved an inch since the incident took place. The CBI has done nothing except force me to run from pillar to post in the last one-and-a-half years. Instead, fake stories on Najeeb having joined ISIS are being circulated without any evidence,” Fatima Nafees told the gathering at the protest venue on Monday.
She also hit out at the JNU V-C and said he should be immediately removed from his position. “If he had filed an FIR in the case as the vice chancellor, the police would have taken up the issue more seriously. We want the CBI to question the nine ABVP students who assaulted Najeeb,” she said.
The court has set April 3 as the next date of hearing.