New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked city police to explain why “crucial details” of the missing Jawaharlal Nehru University student Najeeb Ahmed being beaten up and taken to Safdarjung Hospital in an ambulance was missing from its status report.
A division bench of bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel perusing the status report filed by Delhi Police before it regarding the investigation of the case, asked why it has not given the reason of shifting Ahmed to the hospital and kind of injuries sustained by him.
“We notice that in status report, reference is being made on Najeeb Ahmed taken to Safdarjung Hospital. We are surprised as to why the background is missing, as to what led to his being taken to hospital. Let the officer explain the reason of this lapse,” said the bench.
The court also asked Delhi Police to “cut across all political barriers” and suggested it re-interrogate eight JNU students, who have allegedly thrashed Ahmed, as they must be knowing something. “Do it fearlessly. We should not tell you (police) what you should do,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who appeared for the student’s mother, contended that it took police one month to record the statement of these students.
“You (police) have plain cloth personnel. Shadow a couple of them (these eight). You will know what’s going on in their mind. After all these are students, how hardened can they be,” the bench responded.
There could be “something more” to the disappearance as a person can’t just “disappear from the heart of the national capital”, said the court during the hearing.
“In college life/ hostel people get beaten up, its not new. But they don’t disappear. 45 days is long period of someone to be underground,” it said.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by Ahmed’s mother that her son be presented by police and the Delhi government before the court. Fatima Nafees also sought setting up of a court-appointed Special Investigation Team of officers from outside Delhi to take over the probe from Crime Branch of the Delhi Police.
Ahmed, 27, a first year M.Sc. student, went missing from his JNU hostel on the night of October 14-15, allegedly after an altercation with the members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s students wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
The court also asked JNU to file its response on the plea. Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi Police, told the court that Ahmed was expelled from hostel after he had slapped one of the students during an altercation.
The court asked JNU to reconsider its decision to expel Ahmed from the hostel, if it had not already done so. It also asked advertise that the decision of his expulsion would be reconsidered once he returns.
Police also told the bench about steps taken by them to trace Ahmed including missing person advertisement, uploading his details to the Zonal Integrated Police network, enhancement to Rs 5 lakh the reward for any information about him etc.
Police also said that since 2012, Ahmed has been suffering from depression and was under medication, and this could be the reason of his disappearance.
The court also asked JNU students, management, staff or any person connected with the matter, who can assist and provide any clue to police to trace Ahmed, after putting all their differences aside. It then posted the matter for December 9.