The Bombay High Court underscored that the transfer of a case from the police to a special agency should not be solely based on the investigation’s lack of appeal to a concerned party. On November 6, a division bench comprising Justices N W Sambre and N R Borkar emphasized that an investigating agency should not be burdened and must objectively assess the prosecution’s case from all angles to ensure a fair and expeditious investigation.
The court dismissed a petition filed by Bhagyashree Mote, who sought the transfer of the investigation into her 32-year-old sister’s death from the police to either the Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Stating that the investigation’s lack of appeal to the concerned party alone is insufficient grounds for faulting the investigating officer, the court remarked, “Merely because the investigation of the investigator is not appealing to the party that, by itself, cannot lead to faulting the investigation by the investigating officer, as such the investigation is contrary to their version.”
In refusing to transfer the investigation, the High Court highlighted that the power to transfer cases is exercised to bolster credibility and instill confidence in investigations with national and international implications. The court stressed that transfers are justified only when there is a reasonable apprehension that justice might be compromised due to a flawed, biased, or malicious investigation.
“The court is equally required to be sensitive to the principle that transfers are not ordered just because a party seeks to lead the investigator to a given conclusion,” added the High Court.
In her plea, Bhagyashree Mote alleged that her sister was killed by her in-laws, while the police maintained that the death resulted from a heart ailment, ruling out foul play. The petitioner claimed that her sister was murdered because her in-laws did not want to share their property. The in-laws contended that they had disowned their son and daughter-in-law long ago due to his alcoholism.
After scrutinizing the investigation papers, the High Court concluded that the police had conducted a thorough investigation, considering every possibility. The court determined that the investigation and medical evidence did not support the conclusion that the woman’s death resulted from homicide.