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K. MANOHARAN v. THE SUB INSPECTOR OF POLICE - WP(C) No. 25306 of 2004(K) [2005] RD-KL 52 (2 June 2005)


WP(C) No. 25306 of 2004(K)

... Petitioner


... Respondent








Dated : 02/06/2005


.PL 60 .SP 2 .BM 2


j ................................ j W.P.C.NO. 25306 of 2004 j ................................. j

Dated, this the 2nd day of June 2005



j ((HDR 0 W.P.(C) 25306/04 :#: )) .HE 1 In this Writ Petition filed under Art.226 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner seeks a writ of mandamus directing the 3rd respondent viz., the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch (CBCID), Palakkad, to hand over the entire files and investigation records of Crime No.267/03 of Walayar Police Station (Crime No.95/CR/PKD/04 of Crime Branch Police, Palakkad) to the 4th respondent, namely, the Superintendent of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation, Ernakulam and to complete the investigation of the case as expeditiously as possible.

2. The case was originally investigated by the local police and as per judgment dated 28-11-2003 in W.P.(C) 35070/03 filed by the petitioner, this Court directed the 3rd respondent to take over the investigation. Subsequently, as per the judgment dated 3-3-2004 in W.P.(C) 6156/04 filed by the petitioner, this Court had directed the 3rd respondent to expedite and complete the investigation without any delay. THE FLASHBACK (GRIEFSTRICKEN REMINISCENCES OF A FATHER)

3. The facts leading to the filing of this Writ Petition can be concatenated as follows:- The dead body of a male appearing to be aged 35 years was found near the railway track at about 12.50 P.M. on 29-9-2003 at Chandrapur. The said spot is about 1 K.M. away from the Walayar railway station. Besides his gold chain and gold ring, an identity card belonging to one Rajasekharan and a TNSTC bus ticket for Rs.4.50 were recovered from the dress found on the corpse. The Walayar police registered a case as Crime No.267/03 under Sec. 174 Cr.P.C. for "unnatural death". The dead body is said to have been subsequently identified to be that of 21 year old Rijesh, the only son of the petitioner herein (K.Manoharan) whose permanent residence is in Variathe Kalam, Kudallur P.O., Kudallur in Palakkad District. The petitioner is employed at Coimbatore in the State of Tamil Nadu as an Executive Engineer in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. He along with his family is occupying the residential quarters allotted him at Attakkatti in Valappara Taluk of Coimbatore District. Rijesh who was a bright student is stated to have secured admission for B.E. (Civil Engineering) in the V.L.B. Janaki Ammal College of Engineering and Technology, Kovaipudur, Coimbatore in August 2002. He was staying in the College Hostel. One Rajasekharan was his room mate. One Nandakumar, Karthik Sundar and Prabhu all residing at Kovaipudur were the class - mates and close friends of Rijesh and all these three friends had come and resided with the family of the petitioner for two days in connection with the marriage of the petitioner's only daughter Remya which was solemnised on 11-5-2003. Rijesh was at the time of his death studying in the 7th semester. As on 23-9-2003 he had completed his practical examination and was scheduled to appear for the theory examination commencing from 10-10-2003. During the intervening study holidays since most of the hostalites had vacated their rooms, Rijesh also went to his parents at Attakkatti. On 26-9-2003, Nandakumar who was one of the friends of Rijesh made a visit to Rijesh and his family. When Nandakumar returned to Kovaipudur on that day evening Rijesh also accompanied him stating that a combined study had been arranged. Both of them went to Kovaipudur in separate motor cycles. The parents of Rijesh would not have realised then that they were seeing their son alive for the last time in the evening of 26-9-2003. According to the petitioner, his son had contacted him over telephone at 6.30 P.M.. on 26-9-2003 itself to confirm his safe arrival at Kovaipudur. The petitioner would have it that at about 7.30 a.m. on the next day also, Rijesh had called him to inform him about the commencement of the combined study. The shocking news which the petitioner allegedly got thereafter at 10.30 P.M.. on 29-9-2003 was about the death of his son whose dead body was stated to be lying near the railway track at Walayar. This news, the petitioner got by means of a phone call from Mr.Xavier, the Principal of V.L.B. Janaki Ammal College for Engineering and Technology, Kovaipudur. The petitioner accompanied by others reached the spot and identified the dead body. It is the case of the petitioner that his son Rijesh was not in the habit of drinking liquor. Going by the petitioner's version, Rijesh was the joint secretary of the Civil Engineering Association of which Nandakumar, Prabhu and Karthik Sundar were office bearers, that the said association had planned an industrial study tour to Goa on 26-8-2003 in which about 100 students had agreed to participate, that Rijesh who initially did not wish to take part in the study tour due to his observing penance in connection with the proposed pilgrimage to Sabarimala, after compulsion by his three friends subsequently agreed to participate in the tour, that it was Rajasekharan who collected the money from the students, that after the tour when Rijesh verified the accounts it was seen that a sum of Rs.60,000/- had been spent by Nandakumar, Prabhu and Karthik Sundar from and out of the fund collected and Rijesh wanted this amount to be divided among all the students who participated in the tour but the trio were against dividing the money, that an altercation took place between them culminating in Rijesh being brutally beaten up by the other three and that the staff of the college hostel and the Kerala Police have been subsequently won over by those students. A particular instance narrated by the petitioner gives us a peep into the boy's mental make up. Rijesh had bought a gift for Nandakumar from Sabarimala Temple. But subsequently he gave up the idea of giving that gift to Nandakumar since according to him Nandakumar who along with Karthik Sundar and Prabhu, had misbehaved with three girl students under the influence of drink during the Goa tour, did not deserve that gift. The petitioner has stated in his case diary statements that there were no blood marks at the spot where the dead body was found, that he had received an anonymous phone call from a student revealing that Rijesh had not been in the college hostel in the night of 28-9-2003 that the version given to the investigating agency by the students and teaching and non - teaching staff of the college was part of a drama, that after the dead body was identified, Mr.Natesan, Head of the Department had convened a meeting of students to tell them that Rijesh had committed suicide and that that should be the version to be given to anybody who asked about the death of Rijesh and if anybody gave a different story he would find it difficult to get the certificates from the College and that some of his relatives had overheard the students who had attended the funeral of Rijesh speaking in muffled voice that if anybody asked about the death of Rijesh they should reply that they do not know anything about it. According to the petitioner, although several students from the College had come for the funeral of Rijesh none of the aforementioned three friends of Rijesh came to Palakkad either to see his dead body or to attend his funeral or subsequent obsequies and enquiries made by him revealed that they had stayed away from their classes also for the three days and none of their class-mates had seen them during those three days. The petitioner suspects that Rajasekharan who was the room - mate of Rijesh has been coerced into silence and he was therefore afraid of divulging anything regarding the circumstances which preceded the death of Rijesh. According to the petitioner Rijesh was in the habit of wearing belt and keeping his purse and identity card in the rear pocket of his pants and he never retained the journey ticket beyond the destination. THE POSTMORTEM PICTURE j

4. Autopsy over the dead body was conducted by Dr.Gujaral, District Police Surgeon, District Hospital, Palakkad between 11.45 a.m. and 1.45 P.M.. on 30-9-2003. The autopsy surgeon has opined in the postmortem certificate that the deceased died due to the injuries to his head and neck. Antemortem injuries to the neck and other parts of the body and other findings as noted in the postmortem certificate are the following:-

"B- Neck: i "Lacerated wound 2.5 x 0.5x0.2cm on left

i half of front neck, 2cm below jaw margin and 3 cm outer to midline, with contused abrasion 5.5x1.5cm around obliquely extending from its left end at jaw margin 4 cm outer to midline chin to its right end at 2.5cm below chin and 0.8cm to the left of midline front of neck in line with this contused abrasion, another contused abrasion 6.5x1 to 1.5 cm was seen on right half of front of neck, extending downwards and to right from its upper left end at midline front of neck 2.5cm below chin (breadth 1 cm). The lower right end of this contused abrasion was at 2 cm. below left jaw margin, 4.5 cm outer to midline. Flap dissection of neck in a bloodless field showed blood infiltration in the subcutaneous tissues underneath the contused abrasions. Fracture separation of hyoid bone at its middle with infiltration of blood around. Fracture separation of right greater ham of hyoid bone with infiltration of blood around. Other midline structures neck including thyroid and cricoid cartilages and cervical vertebral column were intact. B. Injuries (Ante-mortem) i 1) Lacerated wound "......" shaped, 7x3.6 cm. i bone deep, on back of head in midline, lower end 12cm above root of neck. Depressed comminuted fracture of skull with depression and comminution of a segment of 7.5x4.5cm on back of skull in midline, involving both occipital bones. Thin sub-dural and sub arachnoid bleeding over brain. Brain pale, showed mild edema. 2) Multiple contused abrasions over an area of i 5x4cm on right forehead, just above eyebrow and 2 cm outer to midline. 3) Contused abrasion 4x 1 cm on lower lip, 2 cm i to the right of left angle of mouth. 4) Lacerated wound 3.2x1.2x0.8cm, transverse on i inner aspect of right upper arm, 5 cm below top of amrpit. 5) Lacerated wound 6.5 x 2.8 x 1.5cm on inner i aspect of right upper arm, 0.8cm below and parallel to previous injury. 6) Lacerated wound 2x1x1.2cm on inner aspect of i right upper arm 4cm above elbow with multiple contused abrasions over an area of 10x8cm around. 7) Multiple contused abrasions over an area of i 28x18cm on back and outer aspects of right elbow and forearm. 8) Abrasion 8x0.2cm on front of right chest, i lower outer end 2 cm above right nipple. 9) Contused abrasion 1.5x1cm on front of right i chest, 4.5 cm below nipple 10) Lacerated wound 7x1.5cm on inner aspect and i sole of right foot, back end 1 cm in front of inner malleolus. 11) Crush laceration 9x4.5x2.5cm on sole and i outer aspects of left heel, 5 cm in front of midpoint back of heel, with crushing of calcaneum. 12) Contusion 8x6x0.5cm on outer aspect and top i of left foot, 3 cm in front of outer malleolus. 13) Multiple contused abrasions over an area of i 6x5cm on back of left elbow. 14) Contused abrasion 1.5x0.8cm on inner aspect i left forearm 3cm below elbow. 15) Multiple contused abrasions with graze, over i an area of 17x7cm, direction of graze to left and slightly upwards, on back of left chest and shoulder, obliquely placed with lower right end at 5 cm below root of neck in midline. 16) Contused abrasion with graze towards left, i 10x1.5cm, on back of right buttock, upper left end 7 cm to the right of top of natal cleft. C.Other Findings i Lungs intensely pale, Heart walls , i valves and chambers normal, coronaries patent, Liver, spleen and kidneys intensely pale. Stomach contained 50 ml of milk tea like fluid without any unusual smell, mucosa pale. Urinary bladder empty. Spinal column intact. All other organs intensely pale, otherwise normal. Viscera and blood preserved for chemical i analysis." THE OUTCOME OF CRIME BRANCH INVESTIGATION j

5. Pursuant to the directions of this court a statement has been filed on behalf of the 3rd respondent. The said statement is full of grammatical and other mistakes. Going by this statement, 43 witnesses were questioned. The said statement confirms the fact that Karthik Sundar, Prabhu and Nandakumar were the classmates and close friends of Rijesh and after completing his practical examination Rijesh had gone to his parents at Attakkatti on 24-9-2003, that Nandakumar went to his house on 26-9-2003 at 11 a.m. and spent there till 6.30 P.M.. when both Nandakumar accompanied by Rijesh returned to Kovaipudur. The statement then proceeds to state that during that night Rijesh consumed liquor with his friends Sidhababu and Sundar Raj from the residence of Prabhu and slept with them, that on 27-9-2003 at about 10 a.m. Prabhu brought a bottle of liquor which was consumed by Rijesh, Prabhu, Karthik Sunder, Nandakumar, Jayakarthik, Sidhababu, Senthil and Mohanraj and Rijesh slept in the house where Senthil and others were residing on 29-9-2003, that on 28-9-2003 Rijesh had consumed half of a full bottle of liquor and was fully drunk on that day and he was carried by his friends to Nandakumar's residence in a motor cycle at 6.30 p.m., that Rijesh picked up a quarrel with Nandakumar after locking the room, that Nandakumar was later rescued by Prabhu, Karthink Sundar, Sidhababu and Binu, that at about 9 P.M.. Rijesh was carried to his hostel, that even though his friends made an attempt to complain to the Principal about the conduct of Rijesh in quarrelling with Nandakumar they could not do so since the Principal was not available, that a Lecturer and Deputy Warden visited Rijesh that night to find him fully drunk, that Rijesh went to sleep at about 12.30 hours in the night in a desperate mood along with Rajasekharan, that one Nanjappan, Watchman of the College saw Rijesh going out of the hostel compound at about 6.a.m. on 29-9-2003 and that the bus ticket obtained from the dead body is for travelling from Kovaipudur Pirivu to Walayar for the journey from 6.40 a.m. 7.25 a.m.

6. Going by the statement filed by the 3rd respondent, Rijesh was drinking liquor on 26th, 27th and 28th and on 28th evening he picked up a quarrel with Nandakumar under the influence of alcohol. But the statement is silent about the reason for the quarrel. If the deceased boy was so inebriated as alleged, one would have expected at least the smell of alcohol for the stomach contents in the postmortem certificate. But there is no such mention. The conjuncture made in para 10 of the opinion after considering the statement of the postmortem doctor is that the injuries might have been sustained in the course of an unsuccessful attempt at boarding a running train. The statement then winds up by concluding that the deceased who had left the college hostel in a desperate state of mind might have been killed in a suicide hit by a train and to justify this conclusion the statement makes an attempt to explain the safe keeping of the gold chain and gold ring in the pocket instead of wearing them and the keeping in his possession of the identity card of his room mate and the assumption made is that this might be for the purpose of identifying the dead body. THE GRAY AREAS j

7. Apart from the language constrains for the Kerala police for conducting the investigation of such a case in Tamil Nadu, there are many missing links and loose threads in the investigation for which there is no convincing explanation in the statement filed.

a) Which was the running train that he was i i attempting to board during broad daylight ?

b) If the bus ticket recovered from the dead i i body related to the journey undertaken by him in the early hours of 29-9-2003 from Pirivu to Walayar and if the deceased reached Walayar at 7.25 a.m., which were the trains that passed through Walayar on that day ? Was the particular train located ?

c) Was there any blood mark or other i i corresponding evidence on any part of the train to confirm the conclusion of the Crime Branch Police ?

d) If according to the petitioner his son i i was an extrovert who would never commit suicide, what then was the force which impelled him to take such a course ?

d) Why is it that there was not even a smell i i of alcohol in the stomach contents of the deceased who was allegedly drinking excessively on the three previous days ?

e) What was the result of the chemical i i analysis of the viscera and blood preserved by the autopsy surgeon ?

f) Are there satisfactory and cogent i i explanation for the antemortem injuries found on the dead body ?

g) How is it that the mobile phone of the i i boy who was in the habit of keeping constant touch with his parents was seen in the switched off mode even from the previous day ?

h) Was any attempt made to decode i i information from the mobile phones of the deceased and his close friends including Nandakumar ?

i) Was Rajasekharan, the room mate of the i i deceased coerced into silence by anybody and if so what was the motive behind the same?

j) What is the explanation for the absence i i of Nandakumar, Karthik Sundar and Prabhu in their class for three days ? Was there a quarrel between three and the deceased and if so what was the issue ?

k) Was the deceased brutally assaulted and i i if so, by whom ?

l) Are the details of the Goa tour fully i i elicited from disinterested and independent sources ?

m) What could be the explanation for the i i absence of blood marks at the spot where the deady body was found lying ?

n) Has there been a profitable employment of i i the skills and wonders of Forensic Science ? These are some of the grey areas over which one would expect a more convincing explanation. THE PUBLIC CONCERN j

8. Just as the kith and kin of the deceased are anxious to get at the circumstances which actually led to the sad death of the academically bright student, the Court and the public are also concerned about the truth behind the episode. If there has been the crafty work of criminal minds leading to the extermination of a promising youngster from this world by resort to homicidal machinations the culprits deserve to be brought to justice and visited with condign punishment. If on the other hand, the poor lad had, in a weak moment, responded to a suicidal stimuli from within, then also his parents, near relatives, close friends and teachers can heave a sigh of painstricken relief that Rijesh had on his own volition bid farewell to them all with ill-will towards none. THE FINAL DIRECTION j

9. As per the interim order passed by this Court, the Crime Branch Police had been interdicted from filing the final report. After bestowing my anxious consideration to the facts and circumstances of the case and after perusing the case diary files, I am of the considered view that this case warrants a direction for investigation by the C.B.I. Hence without accusing the State Police of being desultory, perfunctory, ineffective or lackadaisical, I direct the 3rd respondent to hand over the entire investigation files of the case to the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi for entrusting the investigation to an appropriate unit preferably consisting of officers conversant with Tamil as well as Malayalam languages. It is needless to emphasise that the investigation has to be quick, blemishless, effective and meaningful. In the result, this Writ Petition is allowed as above. .JN V.RAMKUMAR,









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