Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the city police to expedite its probe into the death of a girl, allegedly killed by her relatives for refusing to read a holy book and offer prayers.
The court in its order passed also asked the police to file a report of its investigation.
A bench of Justices R M Savant and Revati Mohite-Dere directed the Antop Hill police that is probing the incident, to record the supplementary statement of the victim's father.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by her father, Hussain Qureshi, seeking the transfer of the probe to another agency.
Qureshi told the court that he felt that the police would arrest him too, and therefore, sought protection.
A widower, he told the court that while he was out for work, his brother and sister-in-law used to take care of his 15-year-old daughter.
On May 4, he was informed by his brother that the girl had died after falling in the bathroom.
Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai, however, told the court that the victim had been adopted by her uncle and aunt (Qureshi's brother and sister-in-law) after her mother's death.
Pai said the girl was brought dead to Sion hospital by her relatives.
Initially, the police believed their version and registered a case of accidental death but the post-mortem report revealed some ligature marks on the victim's neck suggesting that she had been strangulated, Pai said.
"Following its initial probe, the police came to the conclusion that the girl had been strangulated to death by her uncle and aunt after she refused to read the holy book and offer prayers," Pai said.
While both the accused have been arrested for murder, the police are still probing whether Qureshi had any role to play in the incident.
Pai also told the court that the prosecution had sought the trial court's permission to conduct a "narco-analysis test" on him to find the truth but he had refused to appear for it.
However, Qureshi denied the allegations and also told the bench that he had never refused for the test.
He also alleged that the police's theory of the victim having been killed over prayers seemed far-fetched.
At this, the bench observed that the case was sensitive in nature and required the utmost attention of the probe agency.
It directed Qureshi to visit the concerned police station at an affixed time and give his supplementary statement.
"On what basis have you arrived at this conclusion? We will need a report," the bench asked the prosecution.
"After the supplementary statement is recorded, we expect the investigating agency to carry out a fair and proper probe since we are informed that the probe into the case is still in progress," the bench said.
"We also expect that all such requisite measures required to be taken during the course of the investigation will be taken at the earliest in view of the fact that the incident occurred over a month back.
We expect a report from the investigating agency on the next date of hearing," it said.
The court is likely to hear the matter on June 29.