SC notice to Jindal law school students over sexual abuse

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to three students of Jindal Global Law School in Haryana who are accused of perpetrating sexual abuses on a junior BBA/MBA course student.

The notice will be served on the three students -- Hardik Sikri, Vikas Garg and Karan Chhabra -- through jail superintendent in Sonipat as they are in judicial custody.

The victim girl has sought transfer of investigation into the allegations of "rape, criminal intimidation, unnatural sex and other offences" from Haryana Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

While issuing notice to the law students, the apex court vacation bench of Justice A.K.Sikri and JUstice Uday Umesh Lalit observed: "What will happen... the accused are going to be lawyers."

Directing the next hearing on the petition of the victim girl on May 29, the court gave Additional Solicitor General -- the government law officer -- Pinki Anand time to seek instructions from the CBI on the plea seeking the transfer of investigation from Haryana Police to it (CBI).

The court issued notice to the Haryana government and the CBI on May 25.

The victim, a second-year student of the five-year integrated BBA/MBA course in Jindal Global University in Sonipat district, has alleged that she suffered sexual abuse by Hardik Sikri, Vikas Garg and Karan Chhabra. They are two years senior to her.

Senior counsel Indira Jaising, who appeared for the victim girl on May 25, told the court that apart from being a crime against a person, it was also a cyber crime and the local police had no knowledge of offences involving information technology.

The court was told that the local police did not check the victim girl's mobile which has sensitive information and even failed to take into custody the electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops, on which explicit information and other details were stored.

The victim has told the court that the state police discouraged her from putting on record all the wrongs that were done to her by the accused, including during a visit to Chandigarh where she was forced to perform sexual acts.

She complained of the "extremely shoddy, unprofessional and biased manner in which the present investigation was being conducted by the state police".

"Police authorities had deliberately avoided recording extremely relevant and crucial information only to make the task easier for them, thereby compromising with the investigation in its totality," she said in her petition.

Pointing to the various pressures, including political, being brought on her parents to withdraw the case, the girl in her petition said that after her parents made inquiries about "on whose instance such requests (withdrawal of complaint) were being made, (they) have come to reliably learn that a member of parliament is behind all of this".

"The interference of politicians in thwarting a free, fair, proper, unbiased and transparent investigation becomes evident when the transfer of the SHO who had registered the FIR on April 11, on the very next day, is looked at from a proper perspective," the petition has said.

The victim has also sought direction to the CBI to take into "safe custody, the mobile phones/computer etc. of the petitioner as well as those of the university authorities which contain material evidence, until the final disposal of the present writ petition".

The petitioner has sought direction to the Haryana government and police to refrain from taking any "coercive steps to procure the custody" of such mobile phones/computers.

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