Kerala Court Directs Govt to Allow CBI’s Visit to U.S. For Probing Woman’s Death

first_imgThe Kerala High Court has directed the Indian government to review its decision of not allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to visit the United States for investigating the death of a Malayali woman in California under suspicious circumstances.The court also ordered the CBI to consider issuing a lookout notice or red corner notice against the woman’s husband to make sure he can be brought to India for effective interrogation, the Hindu reported.“Definitely, CBI being the prime investigating agency in the country on whom people trust for effective investigation cannot raise its hand in despair in a case of this nature. Definitely, CBI seems to have undertaken considerable effort. However, considering the nature of allegations, first the accused needs to be brought to India for effective interrogation,” the high court said, according to the Times of India.Justice Sunil Thomas issued the directive based on a petition filed by K Gopinathan, the father of Anitha Pathiyil, who died of “third degree” burns in California in 2004.After hearing about his daughter’s serious injuries, Gopinathan and his wife immediately flew to the United States, only to find their daughter in coma and unable to give any information about the incident. Anitha died of the burns, and was cremated in California. Her husband Santhosh, who is the accused, has not returned to India since 2007. He had allegedly claimed after the incident that the fire was caused by her lighted cigarette that ignited the nail polish remover she was using, the Times of India reported.Gopinathan found his son-in-law’s account of the fatal incident unreliable and suspicious. He lodged a complaint with the Hemambika Nagar police at Palakkad and the case was sent to the CBI on the high court’s order.A closure report filed by the CBI was rejected by a court as the investigation team did not visit the site of the incident, or made efforts to trace out necessary evidence or approach the concerned authority to bring the accused person for interrogation, the publication reported.In a bid to escalate the issue, the father approached the high court again, where his counsel cited an expert arson investigator as saying that the photographs of the scene suggest that the normal line of nail polish remover could not have caused the burn pattern seen on Anitha’s body. Nail polish remover requires an open flame to get ignited and a lighted cigarette fire is not enough to cause it.The CBI then sought permission to go to the United States for further investigation, which was denied by the central government. Related ItemsCaliforniaKeralalast_img

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