Jishnu Pronoy’s Case – A tale of failed strategy by the State of Kerala

It seems that the State Government has fallen into the trap laid down by the accused and his lawyers. From the date on which the victim Jishnu Pronoy, a student of the Nehru College of Engineering, Thrissur, Kerala, had committed suicide, nothing has gone in favour of the investigating agency.

Though the First Information Report and the Inquests conducted by the then investigating officer had suggested it only as a suicide, subsequently due to the media influence and the public outcry as well as the students’ agitation a new investigating team was setup and case under Section 306 was added as against the Chairman of the college and many staff were included in the list of accused.

In the mean time, other similar cases were also reported to the investigating agency, which was condemned by the High Court while considering the application for anticipatory bail. It was also observed by the Court that, why crime was not being registered when such cases are reported. Thus indicating the falsity of such allegations or revealing the lethargy of the police in preventing a crime. Then the investigating agency was thus forced to register a crime in which, Shaheer Shoukath, a law student, was the victim, who had already left the college while the investigating agency got the Section 164 statement of the Principal recorded at a very belated stage .

The investigating agency, while so, also took the aid of a Special Public Prosecutor, C. P. Udyaybhanu, who also failed in guiding the investigating agency to the right track. Udyaybhanu himself is now an accused in a murder case and is undergoing custody while his bail applications are being considered by the Courts of Law. There after we also saw the bail applications of the accused being allowed by the High Court at which point of time it was the turn of the media and the investigating agency to openly accuse the Judge who granted Bail, on grounds of personal bias. Such attempts also failed. The case also found the office of the Director General of Prosecutions fighting with the Special Public Prosecutor, and ultimately question the legality of appointments of Special Public Prosecutor during invention stage. The High Court had criticized the way in which the crime was being investigated by the Police as well the Prosecution. It was the case of the accused that the investigation was unfair and that the agency need to be changed from the very filing of the bail application.

After the bail applications were allowed, the matters were taken up to the Supreme Court challenging the grant of the bail orders. The challenge as against the bail granted to the Chairman, Krishnadas was dismissed at the threshold itself as far as Jishnu Pronoy case was concerned. What unfolded there after was even worse. The victim’s mother and relatives conducted demonstration at the office of the Police Head Quarters resulting in the arrest of some demonstrators and the State Government succumbing to the demand of the CBI Investigation and a notification was issued requesting the CBI to take up the case.

The matter when it reached the Supreme Court, the Court enquired whether the CBI was ready to take up the investigation. The CBI respondent initially by submitting that the instant case is not one which requires the CBI to investigate and that they are stuck with work load. The Supreme Court being upset with the way in which the investigation was conducted by the State, again requested the CBI to reconsider the request of the State Government.

The Counsel appearing for the State had to concede their investigation was bad and it would be better to have an independent investigating agency. In the mean time, the victim’s Mother Mahija also applied through Advocate Jaimon Andrews for directions to the CBI to investigate the case. The CBI later on 5th December, 2017, came up with a proposal that they would investigate the case in so far as Jishnu Pronoy’s suicide is concerned and the State was thus relieved from the matter. It could only be considered as a failure of the investigating agency of the State of Kerala where it could not satisfy both the victim and the accused. Due to the manipulations committed by the investigating agency under the guidance of the then Special Public Prosecutor, it had to ultimately fall in to the trap laid down by the accused who could not have otherwise asked for the investigation by an independent agency at this stage of the case.

Read Supreme Court Order directing the CBI to take up the case:

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