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Najeeb case: HC pulls up CFSL, Chandigarh over laxity in analysing suspects’ phones

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New Delhi, Apr 2 : The Delhi High Court today pulled up a forensic laboratory in Chandigarh for its “laxity” in dealing with the examination of mobile phones of nine students who are suspects in the case of disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed.

The high court, which had earlier directed the director of Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, to expedite the examination of seized electronic devices, made it clear that in case the process is not completed by April 30, the director of the laboratory has to be present before it.

The court had in February asked the laboratory to give its report to the CBI, which is probing the matter, by March 19.

A bench of justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta was today informed by the CBI’s counsel that out of nine mobile phones, the laboratory has sent forensic analysis report of only three, which was also done by a junior officer who was not qualified enough.

The court took strong exception to the fact that despite its specific directions in the February 27 order asking the CFSL director to expedite the process, it has not been done till date.

“The court expresses grave concern that a matter of considerable seriousness has not received the attention it deserved from the CFSL. The mobile phones were sent to the CFSL on November 14, 2017. Till date the examination is nowhere complete,” the bench said.

It said the court was taking “a serious note of this laxity on the part of the CFSL” and directed that the examination of mobile phones be done by a senior officer and the report be made available to the CBI on or before April 30.

The bench said if the laboratory failed to do so, its director shall be personally present before the court on May 8 to explain his conduct.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Ahmed’s mother Fatima Nafees seeking directions to the police to trace her son who went missing in October 2016.

During the hearing, advocate Nikhil Goel, appearing for the CBI, filed a status report before the court in a sealed cover and sought time to complete the investigation.

He said they have received the forensic analysis report of three mobiles phones and have been scanning the data and so far there seemed no connection between the allegations made by Ahmed’s mother against the nine students.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Nafees, said the probe agency has not taken into custody the suspects who had threatened Ahmed a day before he disappeared and sought a court-monitored probe.

The CBI had earlier told the court that the investigating officer had visited the CFSL office on February 9, after repeated reminders sent earlier.

Ahmed had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on October 15, 2016 following a scuffle with some other students, allegedly affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.

The high court had on May 16 last year handed over to the CBI the investigation into the disappearance of Ahmed, a student of M Sc Biotechnology. His mother had moved the high court on November 25, 2017, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.

However, as the Delhi Police remained clueless about his whereabouts even after seven months since he went missing, the probe was handed over to CBI on May 16 last year.

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