Wife swapping allegation in Navy; SC rejects plea for CBI probe

The Supreme Court today dismissed the plea of an estranged wife of a Naval officer seeking a CBI probe into her FIR alleging that besides her husband, four other Navy officers and spouse of one of them indulged in wife-swapping.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit asked the Director General of Kerala Police to set up an SIT headed by a police officer not below the rank of a DIG and conclude the probe in the 2013 FIR “preferably” within three months.

Rejecting the plea for CBI probe, the verdict, penned by Justice Banumathi said, “It is well settled that the extraordinary power of the constitutional courts in directing CBI to conduct investigation in a case must be exercised rarely in exceptional circumstances, especially, when there is lack of confidence in the investigating agency or in the national interest and for doing complete justice in the matter.
The bench said, “Considering the facts and circumstances

of the case in hand, in the light of …Principles, we are of the view that the case in hand does not entail a direction for transferring the investigation from the state police/special team of State Police Officers to CBI. The facts and circumstances in which the offence is alleged to have been committed can be better investigated into by state police.”

It also rejected the submission of the estranged wife of the navy officer that the cases, filed by accused including other Naval officers in the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR, be transferred to the Delhi High Court.

“The investigation in FIR … Registered at Harbour Police Station, Kochi, is pending in Kerala and stated infra, we have directed further investigation in the said case by a special team of state police officers. When the investigation is pending in Kerala, it is desirable that the quash petitions filed under Section 482 of CrPC are heard in the High Court of Kerala, as the High Court will be in a better position to take note of further progress in the investigation and also consider the evidence recorded,” it said.

The apex court also said that it transfers a case from one state to another only if there is a “reasonable apprehension on the part of a party to a case that justice will not be done.”

Referring to the submission of the woman in the present case, it said that she has only alleged that the accused are naval officers and are influential.

“Mere apprehension that the accused are influential may not be sufficient to transfer the case. Since a special team of state police officers is constituted for further investigation, we are not inclined to order the transfer of the criminal miscellaneous petitions from the High Court of Kerala to the High Court of Delhi,” it said.

Dealing with the difficulties to be faced by the woman in attending proceedings in Kerala, it said, “we request the Kerala State Legal Services Authority to nominate a senior counsel to represent the petitioner in the matters before the High Court.”

It asked the Kerala High Court to take up case after the SIT completes the investigation in the FIR lodged by the woman.