The Madhya Pradesh High Court has prevented the authorities from changing the officer-in-charge and special investigation team probing a high-profile sex scandal case involving former politicians and senior officials without its permission.
The interim order by a division bench of Justices SC Sharma and Shailendra Shukla came after a recent hearing on two petitions seeking a CBI probe into the high-profile case. The judges arrived at this decision after observing that the probe team had undergone many leadership changes in the recent past.
The court has also ordered that electronic evidence in the case be sent to the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis. "The present case is almost entirely based on electronic evidence, which requires a thorough investigation by experts. It has been informed that two forensic science labs in the country - one in New Delhi and the other in Hyderabad - have the state-of-the-art technology needed to probe such evidence. Therefore, the officer-in-charge of the case is directed to forward all the electronic evidence to the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad and obtain a report. He shall personally monitor the same," the bench said in its interim order.
The evidence in the case comprises thousands of videos, social media chats, audio chats and phone conversations stored in laptops, mobile phones and computer hard disks.
The interim order against any more arbitrary changes in the probe team came after the bench noted that its members were being shifted around frequently, and the current head - Rajendra Kumar - was the third IPS officer on the job. Although the authorities submitted the status report and reasons for frequent changes to the bench in sealed envelopes, the judges were far from satisfied.
According to police, the accused would lure powerful people - including politicians, senior bureaucrats and police officers - into sexual relationships that eventually culminated in blackmail. Many of those involved ended up facilitating the transfer of lucrative government contracts and projects to the accused's clients, which included an NGO and a number of prominent firms.