After the Supreme Court of India ordered the country's top probe agency to look into the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, the state's governing Nationalist Congress Party leader, Sharad Pawar, expressed hope that the investigation would not remain stalled for years or end up being "unresolved".
In a tweet, Pawar actually referred to a 2013 case, the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. It was also investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and remains unresolved.
I hope the investigation will not be carried on, as was done with Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s murder case also under investigation by the #CBI which commenced in 2014 and remains unresolved.— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) August 20, 2020
Over the years, the CBI has been facing heat from courts on different occasions and drawing flak from other sections of society for the slow pace of the investigations in high-profile cases.
The agency had to file closure reports in some big cases, while in others the investigations have been put on the backburner or have hit roadblocks.
Sputnik has taken a look at some high profile cases in which the CBI has not been able to cross the hurdle of judicial scrutiny.
The 2G scam refers to the 2008 issue of 122 second-generation (hence 2G) telecom and spectrum licenses to companies. The CBI’s charge was that this was done improperly and irregularly to benefit a few companies. Subsequently, the government’s audit watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, estimated the loss to the exchequer on account of the irregularities at INR 1.76 trillion ($23.4 billion).
Despite the CBI filing numerous chargesheets mounting to several hundreds of thousands of pages, the special court’s judgement highlighted that the agency made charges that it could not defend. The prosecution's witnesses disowned the allegations levelled by the CBI, and in many ways the CBI itself fumbled in the dark while probing how and who caused the loss to the exchequer.
The special court on 21 December 2017 acquitted all the accused in the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cases related to the scam.
Actress Jiah Khan Death Case
On 3 June 2013, Bollywood actress Jiah Khan was found hanging from a ceiling fan inside her apartment in Mumbai. A suicide note was found and it was allegedly addressed to her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi. He was arrested, but granted bail the following month.
In 2014, the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into the case. The agency has been pulled up several times for lapses in its probe. Initially, the agency took over a year to seemingly conclude their investigation, but it failed to file a chargesheet declaring its findings.
In 2015, the CBI filed a chargesheet terming Jiah’s death as a suicide and accused Pancholi of abetting it. Seven years and counting, the case is still in the court and nothing much has happened.
Disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed
On 15 October 2016, Najeeb Ahmed, a student at India’s premier Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, went missing from the institution's Mahi-Mandvi hostel, allegedly after a scuffle with some fellow students.
A missing person complaint was registered with the Delhi Police. But as they remained clueless about Ahmed’s whereabouts even after seven months, the case was handed over to the CBI in May 2017.
After a series of search operations, the CBI gave up on its investigation in October 2018 and filed a closure report in the court stating that it was unable to locate Ahmed, despite concerted efforts.
With Ahmed being untraceable even now, his case has once again put question marks on the investigation agency’s capability to trace a person who has gone missing from the national capital.
Aarushi Talwar Murder Case
On 16 May 2008, a 13-year-old girl, Aarushi Talwar, was found dead at her home in India's Noida city. To date, nobody has been conclusively convicted. Initially, her family's domestic help was considered as a suspect; however, his body was also recovered the following day from the house's terrace.
The CBI took over the case and filed a closure report. The report was dismissed by a special CBI court and it ordered a trial with Aarushi’s parents as the prime suspects.
In 2013, Aarushi’s parents were convicted and jailed for life for murdering, destroying evidence, and misleading investigators by the special CBI court.
However, in 2017, the Allahabad High Court in Uttar Pradesh acquitted Aarushi's parents over a lack of evidence — and the murder case remains unresolved to date. The court termed it as a "impossible hypothesis" and "patently absurd".
The court acquitted Aarushi's parents, dentists Nupur and Rajesh Talwar, while holding that the prosecution had "miserably failed" to prove that the Talwars had destroyed material evidence. Nobody knows for sure who killed their daughter 12 years on after the tragedy.
In 1986, India signed an INR 14.37 billion ($191.6 million) deal with Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors for the supply of 400 155-mm howitzer guns for the army.
A year later, a Swedish radio channel alleged that the company had bribed top Indian politicians and defence personnel to secure the contract.
Despite filing several chargesheets, the CBI’s investigation into the politically sensitive Bofors payoff case was also unable to withstand judicial scrutiny at the Delhi High Court on 31 May 2005. The court quashed all the charges against the Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand, and Prakashchand — and the Bofors company.
The Supreme Court of India dismissed a CBI petition which challenged the 2005 High Court verdict in the Bofors case. The bench dismissed the appeal as it was “time-barred”. There has been a delay of about 4,500 days on the part of the CBI.