The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was on Tuesday directed by the Delhi High Court (HC) to probe the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad under mysterious circumstances since October last year.
However, the HC, which transferred the probe of the case from the Delhi Police to the CBI, disagreed with the allegations of the missing student's family that the investigation in the case was "politically motivated" and lacked "integrity".
It said the police has accepted all directions and suggestions given by the court from time to time and did "substantial work".
The police did not oppose the plea for giving the probe of the case to any other agency, but claimed it has worked in a "most professional manner" and to the "best of its ability" and would like to see how any other agency handles the case.
"Let any other agency show they can do a better job," its counsel Rahul Mehra said after senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Najeeb's mother Fatima Nafees, expressed reservations with the police continuing with the investigation.
A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Rekha Palli handed over the investigation to the CBI with immediate effect with a direction that it has to be monitored by an officer not less than the rank of DIG and posted matter for hearing on July 17.
The remarks of appreciation for the Delhi Police assumes significance as in the past it has faced severe criticism from the judges for failing to trace the first-year MSc Biotechnology student who went missing on October 15, 2016, after he had an altercation with some students belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The police had said that some students and Najeeb had a fight among themselves in the campus and later Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sevak (RSS)-affiliated ABVP students had denied any involvement in his disappearance.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Gonsalves said the nine students were never taken into custody despite being suspected of brutally assaulting Najeeb.
His plea for setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising officers from outside Delhi was not accepted by the bench which said officers from other states would not be answerable to the Delhi HC.
Mehra said if the missing student's family was of the view that police was working under pressure of the central government, then the same could be the case with CBI.
He said if the matter had political overtones, as claimed, then bringing in officers from nearby states, also ruled by the party at the Centre, may not ensure results as expected by the family of the victim.
The seven-month-old case witnessed several twists and turns during which statements of nine students were recorded by the police, but they had objected to the notice sent to them for their consent to undergo the lie-detection test.
A trial court has accepted the objections of the nine students that the notice for polygraph test was "defective".
The matter came to the HC after Najeeb's mother had filed a writ of habeas corpus on November 25 last to trace her son who went missing from JNU hostel Mahi Mandavi.
The High Court had time and again come down heavily on the police for failing to trace the student even after several months of investigation and even remarked that it was looking for an "escape route" and was "beating around the bush".
It had questioned the conduct of the police saying that it was trying to sensationalise the matter as it was filing reports in sealed covers when "there was nothing confidential, damaging or crucial" in them.
The court had also lashed out at the police for sending officers across the country and setting up SITs, while not questioning the nine students suspected to be behind Najeeb's disappearance.