BENGALURU: In a major setback to the Union government and the National Investigating Agency (NIA), the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday set aside the Centre’s order empowering the NIA to probe the murder of RSS worker Rudresh.
This now allows the Commercial Street police to continue their probe.
While explaining the lapses on the part of Union government, the high court said the impugned order, dated December 7, 2016, was passed with a preconceived notion that the petitioners (the accused) are involved in the offence.
In the 55-page judgment, Justice John Michael Cunha partly allowed the criminal petitions filed by the accused Waseem Ahmed, Mujeeb, Sadiq, Irfan Pasha and Popular Front of India local leader Asim Sharif.
They had challenged the December 7 order entrusting the case to the NIA, invoking the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and extending the investigation period to 180 days by the lower court.
It may be recalled that Rudresh was hacked to death by two motorcycle-borne men in broad daylight at Shivajinagar in city on October 16, 2016.
Four of the accused were apprehended on October 27 and Asim Sharif on November 2, 2016.
“The order passed by the central government to take over the case from Commercial Street police to hand it over to NIA is set aside.
The investigation into the offence against the petitioners shall be continued by the Commercial Street police in accordance with the rules as per Section 43 of the UAP Act,” Justice Cunha said while rejecting the prayer sought by the petitioners to set aside the order passed by the LI ACM magistrate dated January 24 extending the investigation period to 180 days.
Justice Cunha further said that the communication sent by N S Megharikh, then city police commissioner to the IGP (policy), NIA, indicated that much before the Centre passed the order, the NIA had already taken up the job by collecting information, which shows the interested role played by NIA.
“The letter, except intimating the provisions under which FIR was filed, did not refer to any documents or evidence to show the involvement of the petitioners in the alleged offences. The material collected by the investigating officer too do not indicate that the petitioners committed the offence,” the judge said.
Apart from the letter, there was no other material before the central government based on which it could assume that the offence was committed by the petitioners, the judge noted.