Kerala HC grants CBI three more months to conclude probe into accident that killed violinist Balabhaskar

Though the petitioner sought a directive to the CBI to file an interim report on the progress of the investigation, the court rejected it, saying it cannot interfere.
Late violinist Balabhaskar (Photo | Facebook)
Late violinist Balabhaskar (Photo | Facebook)

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday granted the CBI three more months to complete the additional investigation into the road accident death of violinist Balabhaskar in 2018. The High Court had initially directed the CBI on October 5 of the previous year to conclude the additional probe within three months. As the stipulated time expired on January 5, the CBI filed a petition seeking an extension for an additional three months. Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas issued the order in response to the CBI's application for an extension of time to complete the investigation.

The CBI submitted that despite earnest efforts, the investigating officer was not able to complete the probe on all points suggested by the court. Further, certain documents have been obtained from DRI and CBI, Anti Corruption Bureau, Kochi and require close analysis. Only after collecting all the materials can a conclusion be made, it said.

T M Raman Kartha, counsel for the father of Balabhaskar, submitted that there is a 15-day lapse on the part of CBI to start the further investigation. The investigating officer has not conducted scientific and technical investigation concerning the mobile phone of Balabahskar, he said. This is contrary to the pleadings already filed by the CBI before the high court and the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Thiruvananthapuram, that they ‘have collected and examined the scientific and technical evidence relating to the above phone’, he added.

Further, the CBI has not started any investigation into the involvement of gold smuggling rackets in causing the accident, he said. The parents, uncle and cousin of Balabhaskar were questioned by an inspector of the CBI as part of the further investigation, but the attitude of the officer was negative as he kept on explaining the financial constraints of Lakshmi, the wife of Balabhaskar, whose bank accounts were allegedly kept dormant because of the pendency of the investigation, he added.

Though the petitioner sought a directive to file an interim report on the progress of the investigation, the court rejected it.

"The court cannot interfere with the investigation. Let the CBI complete the probe and file a final report," said the court.

The violinist and his daughter had died in a road accident in the wee hours of September 25, 2018. His wife was also seriously injured in the accident. The single judge had ordered a CBI probe on the petition filed by KC Unni, father of Balabhaskar, and Soby George, one of the witnesses in the case against the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrates Court, Thiruvananthapuram, rejecting their pleas for a further investigation.

The court had held that the investigation conducted by the CBI had not been foolproof and that the circumstances arising in the case needed to be probed further. Hence, it directed the investigating officer to investigate the case further, especially to identify whether there was any conspiracy or connection between the activities of gold smuggling and the accident and consequent death of Balabhaskar.

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