SC orders SIT probe against naval officers

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The Supreme Court today directed the Kerala Police chief to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) headed by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector General to probe wife-swapping and sexual abuse allegations levelled by a woman against her husband and five other naval officers.A Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, however, rejected the alleged victim’s plea for a CBI probe, observing that this could be done only if there was any real apprehension that the state police would not do its job.Married in March 2012 to a naval officer posted in Kochi, Sujatha Ravi Kiran lodged a complaint against her husband, parents-in-law and sister-in-law alleging physical and mental cruelty, besides levelling sexual abuse charge against the five naval officers and the wife of one of them.Sujatha also pleaded with the SC to transfer the accused naval officers’ petitions for quashing the complaint against them from the Kerala High Court to the Delhi HC. The apex court Bench, which included Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit, also rejected this plea, but asked the Kerala State Legal Services Authority to nominate a senior counsel to represent her in the HC.The SC noted that the Kerala Police had filed an affidavit that there was no laxity in the investigation being conducted by a Deputy Commissioner of Police. As many as 71 witnesses, including her friends and doctors, had already been examined. Also, the probe was being monitored by the HC.“The facts and circumstances in which the offence is alleged to have been committed can be better investigated by the state police,” the Bench held.The apex court directed the SIT to complete the probe within three months.

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