Honey trap case: Indore Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court junks demand for CBI probe

Indore

Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Saturday rejected the demand of inquiry by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into infamous honey trap case involving politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.

While disposing of petitions demanding CBI probe, division bench comprising Justice SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla noted that no material was brought before the court on the basis of which it could have been held that the investigation has not been done properly by the State of Madhya Pradesh.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted in the matter, has carried out investigation under the supervision of this court by submitting progress report from time to time and as already stated earlier, the court has recorded its satisfaction in respect of the investigation carried out by the SIT, and therefore, the prayer of the petitioner for transferring the investigation to the CBI does not arise,” the duo judges stated.

A total of six petitions, including three demanding CBI inquiry, were filed with the HC after honey trap case surfaced following a police complaint by the then Indore Municipal Corporation superintendent engineer Harbhajan Singh.

The petitioners citing alleged involvement of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen doubted that the SIT would be able to conduct investigation fairly and demanded CBI probe.

Following orders by the court, the SIT kept entire details of the case before it. The court was informed that two FIRs were registered in the case – one in Indore and another in Bhopal. In both the cases, charge-sheets were presented in the local courts.

The court was also informed that the electronic gadgets seized in the case were sent to Central Forensic Science Lab in Hyderabad for forensic analysis and report is awaited.

The court directed the SIT to take appropriate steps in accordance with law the moment a report is received from CFSL, Hyderabad and shall also submit progress report to the Principal Registrar of the court. The respondents have also been told to take all steps as provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for ensuring arrest of other accused persons who are absconding and shall also submit a progress report in respect of the steps taken to arrest the remaining persons who are accused in the criminal cases and shall make all possible endeavor to conclude the investigation under Section 178(8) of the CrPC, 1973 as expeditiously as possible.

Rhea, Arnab cases cited

In the final verdict, the High Court citied ruling in eight cases by Supreme Court, including Rhea Chakraborty Vs State of Bihar & others and Arnab Goswami Vs Union of India & others, before decided that the honey trap case deserves to be handed over to CBI or not.

Citing the SC verdicts, the HC stated that the power to transfer an investigation must be used sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances.

Mentioning one ruling by the apex court, the HC observed that the court while referring the matter to the CBI has to keep in mind certain relevant issues including sensitivity of victims or their next kin, sensitivity of issues like loss of human life, shabby and partisan investigation etc, or when investigation by the State police does not inspire confidence and the discovery of truth is the ultimate purpose which can be done in the best manner by an independent agency.

“The court does not find any reason to transfer the investigation to the CBI,” the HC said.

Interesting facts come to fore

The verdict also reads that the SIT informed that the court that it had not received any material on the basis of which it can be held that the accused persons were helped by the government department in granting them contract or any other kind of favour.

Some of the accused persons had informed the investigating agency about their intimacy with certain persons, however, as informed to the court by the Head of the SIT, there is no criminality involved in the matter.

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