The Delhi High Court on Tuesday transferred the Najeeb Ahmad abduction case to the Central Bureau of Investigation with immediate effect, PTI reported. The court ordered that the CBI appoint an officer no lower than the rank of a deputy inspector general of police to handle it. The next hearing has been set for July 17.
The court’s decision was based on a petition filed by Ahmad’s mother after the police said it had no objection to the case being transferred. On Twitter, former vice-president of the university’s students’ union, Shehla Rashid, said the court’s decision was based on the “questionable and partisan role of the Delhi police”.
In March, Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak had said the investigation into the case had not found any link to the Islamic State group. Pathak’s statement followed The Times of India’s report, which claimed that forensic analysis of Ahmad’s laptop had found he was browsing information on how to join the extremist group a day before he went missing.
The 27-year-old biotechnology student was reported missing on October 15, 2016, after a spat with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parisha. He was initially described by university officials as an “accused” in the events of that night, but after he went missing, the police had registered a case of abduction and offered a reward for any information on his whereabouts. Following orders from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Delhi Police had also formed a special team to find Ahmad.
The police have failed to make any major breakthrough since his disappearance, triggering criticism and protests against the authorities.