Lucknow jail death: Apex court favours independent probe


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Friday said it favoured an independent investigation into the custodial death of Lucknow deputy chief medical officer Y.S. Sachan. The court, however, adjourned the hearing till July 14.

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Hearing a petition by his widow Malti Sachan, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, a bench of Justice Harjit Singh Bedi and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said: “Both of us are in favour of the incident being investigated by an independent agency.”

In the course of the brief hearing, Justice Bedi asked senior counsel U.U. Lalit why a similar matter pending before the Allahabad High Court should not be transferred to the apex court.

His remark came when Lalit, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, suggested that the petition of Malti Sachan be sent to the high court.

Sachan, the prime accused in chief medical officer B.P. Singh’s gunning down, was June 22 found dead in mysterious circumstances in the washroom of Lucknow district jail hospital where he was under treatment.

Sachan was also under scanner for his alleged involvement in Rs. 3,000 crore scam involving National Rural Health Mission funds.

Senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for Sachan’s widow and other family members, told the court that it was a case of murder and not of a suicide as was being sought to be made out by the state government.

As Bhushan told the court that even after the post-mortem examiantion report flew in the face of police claim that Sachan committed suicide, state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh reiterated the police claim, Justice Bedi remarked: “We saw it on TV”.

Sachan was found dead just a day before he was to be taken to court for seeking his remand along with three other accused – Ram Krishna Verma, Anand Tewari and Vinod Sharma.

Police said Sachan committed suicide by hanging himself by a belt in the bathroom of the jail hospital where he was undergoing treatment. The petition wondered how a person can commit suicide by hanging by a belt.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter July 14. The Allahabad High Court will hear it July 12.