Nearly 11 months after the suspicious death of Jishnu Pranoy, an 18-year-old student of Nehru College in Kerala’s Thrissur district, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has finally agreed to take up the case.
This comes weeks after the investigating agency was taken to task by the Supreme Court for refusing to investigate the case.
Appearing for the Centre, the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, that the CBI is willing to investigate Jishnu’s death.
On November 9, citing an excess work load, the CBI had told the court that it cannot take up the case and maintained that a probe by Kerala police was adequate. The CBI had also told the court that it had not received the notification from the Kerala government that ordered for a CBI probe. However, this was challenged by the state government, which pointed out that a notification was issued on June 15.
The SC had then asked the Centre to respond on the issue, cautioning that it will issue an order if the Centre delays its response.
Responding to the Centre's submission on Tuesday, the SC observed that the CBI had caused an unnecessary delay in taking up the case, and that this could even lead to deliberate destruction of evidence, reported Mathrubhumi News. The court also dismissed the CBI claim that Jishnu’s case did not warrant a CBI investigation.
On the Kerala government’s plea that the bail granted to the second accused Shakthivel, Vice Principal of the college, the SC placed responsibility for it on the CBI. It said that the CBI should now approach the Kerala High Court if the bail is required to be quashed.
Jishnu, a first-year Engineering student, was found hanging inside the bathroom of his hostel on January 6, hours after he was allegedly caught cheating in an examination.
Jishnu’s parents had then alleged that the 18-year-old had suffered brutal physical and mental harassment at the hands of the college management, leading to cases being registered against the college management, including its Chairman Krishnadas. In October, Jishnu's mother Mahija had moved the SC seeking a CBI inquiry into the death of her son.
Speaking to Mathrubhumi News on Tuesday, Mahija said that CBI’s decision to take over the investigation is a major victory in their prolonged battle for justice.
"I am glad that a CBI inquiry has been ordered. I want to see this as the success of our legal battles spanning across months. I want to thank everyone who supported us and stood by us in this journey," Mahija said.
Jishnu's father Ashokan said that while he was happy about the development, he and his wife are still to get justice, nearly 11 months after they lost their son.