Daati Maharaj rape case: CBI directed to proceed with further investigation
The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the CBI to proceed with its further investigation into the rape allegation against self-styled preacher Daati Maharaj and file its report before a trial court here.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao, which had earlier asked the agency to submit the inquiry report to it, clarified that it should be filed before the magistrate who is dealing with the matter.
The court's clarification on the filing of the report came after the preacher's counsel submitted that as per the CrPC, the investigation/inquiry report has to be filed before the trial court and not the high court.
"We deem it appropriate to direct the CBI to proceed with the inquiry and file the report before the magistrate who shall proceed in accordance with the law," the bench said.
The high court disposed of the plea of the alleged victim, filed through advocate Pradeep Tiwari, seeking a CBI investigation into the matter and arrest of the accused. It also asked the parties and the CBI counsel to appear before the magistrate on November 26 for further directions.
The preacher had filed a petition seeking review of the court's decision transferring the rape probe to the CBI. The court, however, had dismissed the plea on November 14.
The court had said the investigation was handed over to the CBI "after going through the charge sheet in detail" and after considering the plea moved by the "victim herself".
The preacher had contended that the CBI had started a fresh investigation in the case which was not permitted.
Dealing with the argument, the court had said it had directed only for further investigation by the CBI and not a de novo (fresh) probe.
On October 3, the high court had said the manner in which the probe was carried out by police "casts a shadow on the investigation" as it did not arrest the accused in the case even after recording the complainant's statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The preacher's plea against the October 3 order was initially filed in the Supreme Court which had asked him to approach the high court with his grievance.
The CBI had earlier submitted before the high court its status report on the probe in a sealed cover. The agency had registered a case of rape and unnatural sex against Daati on October 26.
The complainant's plea was earlier being heard by a single judge bench of the high court but was transferred to the division bench after a PIL on the issue was filed.
A complaint was filed against Daati Madan Lal alias Daati Maharaj on June 7 and an FIR was registered on June 11. On June 22, police questioned the accused, who has been charged with rape of a disciple at his ashrams in Delhi and Rajasthan.
The accused has claimed that he was being framed.
The complainant has filed the case against the preacher, his three brothers and a woman at Fatehpur Beri police station in South Delhi. The case was later transferred to the crime branch.
(With inputs from agencies.)