Sundar and five others were booked in a murder case by the Chhattisgarh police in October 2016 but the case has seen no development ever since
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday (November 27), issued a notice to the government of Chhattisgarh asking it to file, within three weeks, an affidavit detailing why no progress had been made in its investigation against Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar and others accused in a murder case back in October 2016.
Sundar had urged the Supreme Court to direct that their names be deleted from the FIR registered in the murder case as over two years had passed since the registration of the case but there was still no progress in the police’s probe against them.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Chhattisgarh government, told the apex court bench of Justices Madan Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta that the State has an intent to investigate the case. However, the court told the counsel for Chhattisgarh that the “sword of an FIR can’t hang over anybody’s head indefinitely” and directed the State to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing the progress made in the case.
It may be recalled that Sundar, along with Archana Prasad, a professor at JNU, and five other persons were charged with murder of a tribal in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh in October 2016. While the case had widely been dubbed as an intimidating tactic by the Chhattisgarh police’s, stringent charges of murder, rioting, criminal conspiracy and sections under the infamous Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) had been slapped against Sundar and her co-accused.
Sundar had approached the Supreme Court later following which the warrants for the arrest of all accused had been stayed. It had, at the time, come to light that neither Sundar nor Prasad had visited Chhattisgarh in the six months preceding the murder and the widow of the deceased tribal too had given a public statement asserting that she had not named anyone for the death of her husband.
Sundar and other accused have maintained that the case against them was trumped up by the Chhattisgarh police and the state’s administration as a means to stop them from working among the state’s oppressed tribal community and for their consistent efforts to expose incidents of police atrocities and excesses against common citizens and their criticism of the dubious Salwa Judum movement – the arming of locals by the state government to take on the Maoists.
—India Legal Bureau