Arnab Arrested: Can Police Reopen Cases Closed Under ‘A’ Summary?
“Closing the case at such a premature stage as ‘A’ Summary is questionable under the circumstances,” say lawyers.
The Raigad police has once again reopened their investigation into the abetment to suicide charges against Republic editor Arnab Goswami in connection with Anvay and his mother Kumud Naik’s deaths.
But the one question that has been raised by many on social media is, what is the protocol that the police need to follow when reopening a case that has been closed for lack of evidence?
In April 2019, the DYSP of Alibag, Alibag Division, filed an ‘A’ Summary report seeking to close the case due to lack of evidence. On 16 April 2019, the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Raigad, Alibag accepted the report and granted permission for the same.
What Does Closure Under ‘A’ Summary Mean?
A closure report in a criminal case can be filed under three types of Summary Reports – A, B and C.
An ‘A’ Summary case is when the Magistrate classifies the case as genuine but not ‘detected’, ie, the investigation has not thrown up sufficient evidence. A Senior advocate explained that there are two categories under this. One, where there is no clue about the culprit and second, where the accused is known but there is no evidence against them.
Cases filed under ‘B’ Summary are maliciously false, with no evidence against the accused. ‘C’ Summary closure cases are filed when the criminal case was filed due to mistake of facts or it is a civil complaint.
Since the closure report filed in the case of Anvay and Kumud Naik’s deaths and the probe into the allegations of non-payment of dues was under ‘A’ Summary category, the case can be reopened again, says Advocate Abha Singh.
“What ‘A’ Summary means is that the matter is right, it is not false, but the only thing is that you don’t have sufficient evidence. So now, at a subsequent stage if the police get some additional evidence and these are powers of investigation, nobody can stop the police from further investigation. Also, Section 173(8) CrPC would permit the police to conduct further investigation and send another report to the Magistrate.”Advocate Abha Singh
In its remand copy before the Alibag court, the Raigad police had written that apart from new evidence that surfaced during the recent investigation, a few witnesses had also emerged in the case.
The police stated that bank accounts of the accused parties are being probed, hence, keeping them in custody was necessary.
The remand further stated, “According to the complainant and her daughter, all accused parties have allegedly conspired to not pay the dues. The communication channels between the accused parties regarding the conspiracy like e-mail, phone calls need to be established and probed.”
Advocate Abha Singh further adds, “In criminal cases rule of limitation does not apply. Only in civil side it is applicable. So if new evidence is unearthed in a murder case or another criminal case, you have to reopen and investigate the case. Hence, there’s no Law of Limitation here.”
Weighing in on the legal fineprint, advocate Rizwan Merchant points out that the earlier police team probing the case, could not have closed it under ‘A’ Summary.
“The police could not have closed this case as ‘A’ Summary. More particularly, when there is a suicide note which gives the names of the accused, whether right or whether wrong, whether the suicide note becomes an admissible piece of evidence or otherwise is a matter of evidence which has to be tested at the time of the trial.”Advocate Rizwan Merchant
He further added, “Under these circumstances, closing the case at such a premature stage as ‘A’ Summary, meaning offence committed but not detected, is something that is very questionable.”
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