Kochi: The High Court of Kerala on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to immediately take over the further investigation into the death of two minor girls at Walayar.
Justice V G Arun also directed the State police chief to initiate immediate steps to hand over the complete case files to the CBI. The order was issued while disposing of a plea by the girls’ mother, who sought a court-monitored CBI probe into the suicide deaths.
The court also asked the Kerala government to provide the necessary logistics for an unhindered investigation.
Senior government pleader submitted before the court that all documents, including a notification approving the CBI probe, had already been forwarded to the Centre, which would decide on conducting the investigation. The pleader also informed that it was possible for the court to order a probe by the central agency in the absence of the Centre’s decision.
Referring to the responses of the central and State governments, the court observed that both were in agreement regarding a CBI probe. The court, which considered a Division Bench’s judgement that pointed at the lapses of the investigation agency and of the trial court, ordered the immediate CBI probe. The court also allowed the petitioner to approach it in future, if necessary.
The case trail
The older girl, aged 13, was found dead hanging on January 13, 2017, and her younger sister, 9, was found in the same manner on March 4, 2017. The Pocso Court in Palakkad, which conducted the trial, later acquitted the accused men.
Allowing the appeals by the State government and the mother of the girls, the High Court on January 6, 2021, set aside the trial court’s acquittal of the accused and ordered a re-trial. The court also allowed a re-investigation.
Though the State government formed a fresh investigation team, the probe was entrusted with the CBI on the demand of the girls’ parents.
The girls’ mother approached the High Court, saying the government notification dated January 25, 2021, approving the CBI probe, only had the case number pertaining to the death of her elder daughter but the death of the younger daughter was not mentioned.
The government submitted to the High Court an erratum, thus ensuring that the CBI is handed over the investigation into the death of the younger girl also.
While the court considered the woman’s plea, the central government submitted that the State had not provided the information that was to be submitted along with the notification approving the CBI probe, as required by the Central guidelines issued on November 22, 2018.
Pointing out that the State government had submitted the documents as assured earlier, the court directs the CBI to take up the probe.