Pathanamthitta: Finding fault with the CBI chargesheet in the P P Mathai death case, his wife Sheeba has written a letter to the director of the central investigation agency, seeking constitution of a new investigation team.
Mathai was found dead in a well while in the custody of the forest department on July 28, 2020. The department had detained him for allegedly damaging its cameras.
In her letter, Sheeba stated that the chargesheet riddled with loopholes would help the accused go free rather than ensuring justice for the victim.
"Despite having all circumstantial evidence to charge the accused for murder, the chargesheet termed the case as culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Even then, the investigators left loopholes that would help the accused escape," she wrote.
Sheeba further stated that Mathai's body was kept in the morgue for 41 days in the hope of getting justice from the CBI. The funeral was held in the belief that the departed soul would get justice from the central agency.
"I received a copy of the chargesheet on January 18 this year. After studying the chargesheet with the help of lawyers, I understand that the CBI had not intervened on behalf of the victim. A re-investigation is required to ensure justice to the deceased, and it is necessary for the image of the CBI as well," she stated.
Sheeba demanded the CBI director to constitute a new investigation team before the accused persons move a bail application.
"Since he was in the custody of forest officials during his last hours of life, murder under IPC 302 could be charged based on the 'last seen' theory. Yet it is mysterious that the accused have been charged under IPC 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). There are no witnesses to Mathai's death," the letter read.
Sheeba further said there were witnesses who had seen her husband in the custody of forest officials. Still, IPC 302 has not been invoked, apparently to help the accused. If the accused had not committed murder, they could prove it (in a court of law). The CBI chargesheet, however, has put the onus of proving the murder on the prosecution.
Mathai was not used to climbing down a well, yet the forest officials forced him to do it after beating him up.
"They (the officials) knew it would be dangerous, and that he would die if he fall into the well. The officials aim was to kill Mathai since they knew that he would take legal recourse against those who had detained him illegally. This is enough to charge the accused under IPC 302, but the CBI had not considered this factor. The chargesheet has placed the burden of proving the murder on the prosecution," Sheeba said in her letter to the CBI director.
The woman further said that the chargesheet did not mention that the officials, trained to operate in dense forests, did anything to save Mathai from the well. Neither did it say that the officials had used an available rope to rescue him.
"There are witnesses who had seen the officials trying to flee the scene. The forest department could not produce any evidence to buttress their claim that Mathai had died by suicide. The chargesheet is also mum on forest officials demanding money to free Mathai. Arun Sathyan, who had shown the deceased's house to officials, has not been arraigned as an accused," Sheeba wrote.
The chargesheet has explicitly mentioned that the forest officials left the scene after informing the police and fire force that Mathai had fallen into the well. "This also helps the accused. The chargesheet with so many loopholes cannot be accepted," Sheeba said while demanding the reprobe.
Forest officials detained Mathai for allegedly destroying their cameras around 3 pm on July 28, 2020. He was found dead in a well near his ancestral house after three hours. His family approached the high court complaining against the local police probe and demanding a CBI investigation.
The high court handed over the case to the CBI on August 21, and the central agency conducted a re-post-mortem on September 4, and the body was buried the next day. Till then, the relatives had kept the body in the morgue of a private hospital in Ranni.