Delhi High Court has transferred to CBI the probe in a case in which traffic policemen were filmed allegedly taking bribes from Blueline bus operators, saying the investigation has not proceeded "meticulously and punctiliously" despite its direction issued six years ago.
Besides handing over the case to CBI, the high court also expressed concern over the delay in receiving forensic report related to the cases and asked the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police Commissioner and CBI to upgrade infrastructural facilities and have more experts.
"Having examined the relevant facts, we think it is necessary and imperative to transfer the investigation to the CBI. Unfortunately, the investigation as noticed above has struggled, has become bedraggled, and has not proceeded meticulously and punctiliously, as was required and necessary, when stated incidents of corruption and bribes were captured live on recording media," the court said.
A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Sunita Gupta also handed over the investigation to CBI in the matter in which some MCD officers were allegedly caught-on-camera taking bribes from the public, saying the "persons allegedly involved are not one or two but numerous police officers, who are meant to check crime and enforce the law".
"Apparently, the primary investigation has revealed the commission of offences by a number of officers taking bribes. It is difficult to appreciate and understand why it has taken more than six years after the order July 28, 2010 to complete investigation and file the charge sheet," it said.
Dealing with the issue of delay in forensic reports, the bench said, "The need to upgrade infrastructural facilities and have more experts, equipment and forensic laboratories in such circumstances need not be emphasised and is accepted."
"These are aspects, which must be immediately taken notice of and appropriate remedial action should be taken by the Government of NCT of Delhi, the Commissioner of Police, the CBI, and the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs," it said in its 42-page-judgement.
The court's direction came on a plea by a property dealer, who had alleged that he has not heard of any "investigation or progress from Delhi Police in FIR" registered in April 2008.
The sting operation was conducted in 2007 by petitioner Chetan Sharma at 30 different points in the national capital and over 90 traffic police personnel were caught on camera allegedly accepting bribes from Blueline bus operators.
Besides this, he had also conducted sting operations and had allegedly captured audio-video recordings of MCD officers taking bribes from public.
The sting operation was conducted in October, November
and December 2007 with the help of some Blueline operators who were being "harassed" by the traffic police, the plea said.
The matter was brought to the notice of the high court through a PIL in January 2008 and copies of the tapes were forwarded to the Union Home Ministry, the Delhi Police Commissioner and Central Vigilance Commission to verify their authenticity and take proper action.
Subsequently, the high court had ordered investigation and inquiry. Thereafter, the petitioner had moved high court seeking transfer of the case to CBI.
The high court, in its verdict, said forensic laboratories and their reports were crucial, and at times, were the most significant and compelling evidence in criminal matters.
"The impact and ramification of forensic reports relating to electronic evidence is increasing as electronic devices for recording of video and audio files are now easily available, and such features are also to be found in even the simplest of mobile phones," it said.