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In a recent case argued by Singh Lawyers titled as Neetu Kapoor v. State of Punjab, Justice Kuldip Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court via order dated 31.05.2016 transferred the investigation of the case to CBI. Manoj Kapoor, brother of the Petitioner was working as contractor of SIS Company Banking, which used to load cash in the ATM maintained by the Government and private banks and his duty was to load cash. On 25.05.2014, Sunday at about 10.30 a.m., Manoj Kapoor received a call by one unknown person offering an insurance of 8 lac and Manoj Kapoor informed the petitioner that the said unknown person was insisting him to come to them for insurance. Thereafter, Manoj Kapoor went away and did not return till 26.05.2014. As a result of which, Neetu Kapoor approached the police and lodged the present FIR. Consequently, police started investigation but was unable to trace out Manoj Kapoor. Thereafter, the petitioner through her counsel, Mr. Navkiran Singh approached the Punjab and Haryana HIgh Court. Hon’ble High Court called various status reports from the police regarding the investigation in the case.

Some of the suspects were also subjected to lie detection test but Manoj Kapoor could not be traced out nor the real culprits were apprehended. Later on, an SIT was constituted headed by DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, which conducted the investigation and filed different status reports. In the different status reports, it was stated that the SIT had conducted the investigation in the adjoining states and done its best possible but the fact remains that Manoj Kapoor is still untraceable. Learned State counsel stated that the State has no objection if the investigation is handed over to some other agency other than the agency of the Punjab Government.

The Hon’ble High Court referred to judgment of Hon’ble the Supreme Court of India delivered in case of State of West Bengal and others vs Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights and others 2010 (3) SCC, 571, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down certain basic guidelines for transfer of cases from State Police to C.B.I. It was laid down that,

“it should be done in the cases, where it becomes necessary to provide credibility and instill confidence in investigations or where the incident may have national or international ramifications or where such an order may be necessary for doing complete justice and enforcing fundamental rights.”

The Court observed that in the present case, some photographs had been placed on file which shows that two persons, who appear to be from outside the state, were operating the ATM from which 19.70 lac are stated to have been removed and looted. Manoj Kapoor was deputed to load the cash in the said ATM and he knew the PIN number/password to open the said ATM. The aforesaid photographs further show that it appears that at least two persons are involved in the aforesaid removal/loot of cash. After disappearance of Manoj Kapoor on 25.05.2014, he has not contacted his family members. Therefore, there is strong apprehension that Manoj Kapoor might have been abducted. The password was extracted from him and some crime might have been committed with Manoj Kapoor. The possibility of interstate ramifications or interstate gang is also there. Therefore, the present case is a fit case, which meets the parameters laid down in State of West Bengal’s case (supra).

However, on the behalf of C.B.I., it was argued that the agency is already over burdened. It is running short of staff. Therefore, the matter may be transferred to the State Bureau of Investigation. But Justice Kuldip Singh stated that

“after having considered the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that C.B.I. has the expertise to detect the crime, which appears to have been committed in the present case. Invariably the State police is put on some other duties, which result in deviation from their duties to carry out the investigation in a fair manner. It is necessary to instill confidence in the investigation. C.B.I. has got the skills to crack such cases. Therefore, the investigation of case FIR No.133, dated 26.05.2014, under Sections 364 and 120-B IPC, registered at Police Station Kotwali Faridkot, District Faridkot is withdrawn from the Punjab Police and is entrusted to C.B.I. However, since C.B.I. is stated to running short of staff, therefore, the Director General of Police, Punjab is directed to provide infrastructural support to C.B.I. in carrying out the investigation. The police is directed to hand over the record of this case to C.B.I., Chandigarh Branch, Sector 30, Chandigarh, immediately”.

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