Expressing suspicion that the CBI officials intimidated the witnesses in the Sampath custodial death case, the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate on Monday directed the CBI team to probe further into the intimidation allegations.
The Magistrate passed the order and sought a directive to the CBI to file a report on the progress of the probe in the case after considering the petition filed by Sampath’s brother Murukeshan.
“From the progress report filed by the investigating officer on November 23, 2011, it could be seen that some of the witnesses had changed their earlier versions given to the CBI and before the magistrate,” said Magistrate P Sasidharan.
The petitioner submitted that there were attempts to sabotage the investigation.
“It has come to the extent that the witnesses in the case are being intimidated by the top officials or by their agents as revealed by Edathala Mani, a witness who had washed the blood stains at the cottage in Malampuzha where Sampath was reportedly murdered,”
the petitioner said. The investigating team had earlier arraigned two senior IPS officials- Mohammed Yasin and Vijay Sakhare as accused in the case.
The petitioner produced several news reports alleging that the CBI officials are compelling the witnesses to change their earlier deposition.
The court opined that the news items showed that the CBI officials had succeeded in their attempt to compel the witnesses.
In the CBI’s progress report, it has been stated that Muhammed Kasim, DySP Palakkad, an accused in the case, was further examined and his statement was not recorded correctly on November 4, 2010, while being examined by inspector K K Rajan, the court pointed out.
Counsel for the petitioner, Geo Paul, submitted that the CBI is attempting to save the two IPS officials who were arraigned as the accused in the case. However, the court said that the investigating officer did not make any inquiry with regard to the allegations raised by the petitioner.
The CBI submitted that the media reports may not be always trustworthy.
“It is not correct to say that the approvers are being intimidated by the officials. The petitioner relies on media reports and he is not entitled to know the stage of the probe,” the CBI said.
However, the magistrate rejected the submissions of the CBI and directed to inquire about the allegations. “The investigating officer should interrogate the witnesses and ascertain whether they were intimidated to save the IPS officials,” the court held.