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Calcutta High Court Criticises IIT and Investigative Agency for Lack of Progress in IITian Faizan Ahmed Murder Case

Justice Jay Sengupta said that if there will be so much delay in the investigation, what will happen to the evidence? He added, if the IIT is deliberately delaying then the court will have to address it

Kolkata: In a case involving the brutal murder of a genius student inside one of India’s top educational institutes, the Calcutta High Court expressed its displeasure with the progress report from the investigation agency. In the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur student Faizan Ahmed’s murder case, the court came heavily on the investigation agency as well as on the IIT authorities.

The court of Justice Jay Sengupta also expressed shock at the delay in examining students. The court was informed that IIT authorities told the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that after November 25th when examinations will be over they can talk to the students, to which Justice Sengupta reacted, “Examinations will come and go, but a person has been killed…” The Justice saw the SIT officer with a blank face and mentioned, “In no criminal case, it happens.”

At one point, Justice Sengupta said that if there will be so much delay in the investigation, what will happen to the evidence? He added that if the IIT is deliberately delaying then the court will have to address it.

In the two-page order, Justice Sengupta not only mentioned the petitioner side counsel’s claim that professional help was taken to commit the crime but also pointed out that the investigative agency ‘acceded’ to the request of the IIT Authorities to interrogate the students after a particular date.

IITian Faizan Ahmed case so far

On October 14, 2022, the partially decomposed body of 23-year-old Faizan Ahmed was recovered in the hostel of IIT Kharagpur. When parents reached IIT KGP, they were informed by the IIT authorities as well as Kharagpur police that the third-year student committed suicide. The parents Rehana and Salim Ahmed protested it. After the postmortem, neither the police nor IIT authorities could provide any satisfactory answers to the grieving family regarding the cause of the death. No poisonous substance was found in the body and there was no hanging mark on his neck either. The family moved to Calcutta High Court. Here also, police claimed that Faizan committed suicide but could not cite the reason for it. The court of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha appointed retired forensic expert Ajoy Gupta, who after going through video clippings of the postmortem found haemorrhage signs and requested a fresh postmortem. The court agreed to it.

The second autopsy was conducted in Calcutta Medical College and for that, the body of Faizan, who was buried in Dibrugarh, was brought here after exhumation. The fresh report made it clear that Faizan Ahmed, one of the brightest students of IIT KGP and a member of two Aerial Robotics Research teams, was killed inside the campus. The court of Justice Mantha mentioned that it is a case of homicide. He constituted a three-member SIT led by senior IPS officer Jayaraman to investigate further.

Both the Bengal government and IIT KGP moved to the division bench against the order. However, the division bench comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmai Bhattacharyya upheld the single bench’s order, stating that the case will be further probed based on the findings of the second autopsy only, and the SIT will continue its investigation. The division bench removed two members of the SIT and gave the choice to the lead officer to build his team.

Court’s remarks for investigative agency and IIT authorities

On Wednesday, Justice Sengupta started its order with the sentence, “Investigation into the offences is not being done properly. This is despite the fact that it has come to light that professional help was sought to commit the crime. Till now the investigating agency has not even been able to name anyone as an accused.”

It also read, “Let a proper report be filed by the investigating agency on the next date indicating in detail the steps they had taken after taking over the investigation as a Special Investigating Team from 13.9.2023. Let them indicate what steps they have been taken on and from 13.9.2023 to 18.11.2023. It is an imperative to have the report on investigation made available on record so that one can proceed towards the final hearing of the case. The investigating team shall also produce the case diary on the next date of hearing.”

“It appears that the investigating agency has acceded to the request of the IIT Authorities to interrogate the students after a particular date. In these circumstances, the IIT authorities should also exercise some patience to allow the investigating agency to delve into the matter a little further so that the final hearing of the case can take place effectively. Ideally, it should not be an adversarial litigation for the IIT authorities. After all, one of their students had died.”

“List this matter for further hearing on 18.12.2023 under the heading ‘Specially Fixed Matters’ at 3 PM,” the order added.

Mother’s demand

Faizan’s counsel, Ranajit Chatterjee, has been repeatedly arguing that IIT is intentionally delaying the investigation as it will give time to the suspected students to fly out of the country and then the case will become meaningful. He told eNewsroom after the hearing, “The Court did not hide its displeasure at the lack of progress of the investigation as also the fact that the SIT felt it was required to re-examine the involved students at their convenience at the dictate of IIT.”

Faizan’s mother Rehana Ahmed told eNewsroom, over the phone from Tinsukia, “The non-progress in the report so far makes us more suspicious that IIT is delaying the investigation. In this situation, SIT should inform the authorities that suspected students should not leave the campus, before their meeting. The court should also intervene and direct the SIT in this regard,” a worried mother seeking justice appealed to the court.

Shahnawaz Akhtar

is Founder of eNewsroom. He loves doing human interest, political and environment related stories.

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